COS 597D: Course Main Page

Fall Term 2009
Computer Science Department
Princeton University

Times: Mon&Wed 1:30-2:50pm
Location: Computer Science Building Room 401
Instructor: Adam Finkelstein

Course Description

This seminar offers a survey of topics relating to the use of Internet services as a medium for scientific experiments. Venues for such research include (but are not limited to): the Amazon Mechanical Turk, Ebay, Facebook, and Google AdWords. Concerns include experimental design, security, human-computer interaction and ethics, as well as touching on economics and psychology.

The seminar is targeted at graduate students but interested undergraduates and other members of the University community are also welcome. Likely participants will have backgrounds in any of: Computer Science, Psychology, Sociology or the Center for IT Policy.

Participants in the seminar are expected to:

  • read, present and discuss topical papers (see sample readings), and
  • perform practical experiments using online services.

Experiments will be conducted by individuals or small groups. Ideally these experiments will represent original scientific research, though the results may simply confirm results that are known in the literature. Participants who already have experimental topics in mind are welcome, and may find others in the seminar who are interested in joining their project. Programming background is not necessary, though it may be helpful for creating some kinds of experiments. Technical aspects of the course will emphasize reading and understanding papers, experimental design, and data analysis.