The Crowd and the Cloud: The Future of Online Collaboration

Friday, February 18, 2011: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
145A (Washington Convention Center )
Scientific research is becoming more international and more interdisciplinary every day, as the research problems being addressed become increasingly complex and global. It is not uncommon for research project teams to include 50–100 people and to span more than a dozen countries. This panel will examine how new information technologies and tools are enabling new forms of collaboration online. Social media are connecting people to each other, enabling them to share ideas and information more quickly. Crowd-sourcing is enabling researchers and corporations to tap the time and talent of tens of thousands of people to do everything from classify galaxies to decipher protein structures to make more accurate street maps. Cloud-computing is enabling teams to collaborate more effectively and analyze gigantic data sets. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are providing a new platform for brainstorming, training, and simulation. These technologies are evolving rapidly and standards are still in flux. Researchers are finding exciting and powerful new ways to use them. However, there are a number of challenges that must be addressed if the research community is to fully realize the potential of these tools. These include cultural resistance to working remotely rather than face-to-face; concerns about privacy and security; lack of access to reliable, affordable Internet connections in some countries; and government policies that can hinder international collaboration.
Michael R. Nelson, Georgetown University
Michael R. Nelson, Georgetown University
Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland
Jeannette Wing, National Science Foundation
Crowds and Clouds
Jennifer Preece, University of Maryland
Technology-Mediated Social Participation
Norman Whitaker, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
The Frontiers of Network-Enabled Collaboration
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