Human-Computer Interaction Institute
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


CrowdForge: Crowdsourcing Complex Work

Aniket Kittur, Boris Smus, Robert E. Kraut

January 2011


Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Mechanical Turk, human computation, distributed processing, MapReduce, coordination

Micro-task markets such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk represent a new paradigm for accomplishing work, in which employers can tap into a large population of workers around the globe to accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time and money of more traditional methods. However, such markets typically support only simple, independent tasks, such as labeling an image or judging the relevance of a search result. Here we present a general purpose framework for accomplishing complex tasks using micro-task markets. Our approach is inspired by the MapReduce framework for distributed processing and provides a scaffolding for complex human computation tasks. We describe our general framework, a web-based prototype, and case studies on article writing and decision making that demonstrate the benefits of the approach.

13 pages

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