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IS&T Seminar: Informational Limits of Systems with Humans and Machines

June 12, 2013
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Location: TA-3, Bldg. 1690, Room 102 (CNLS Conference Room)

Speaker: Lav Varshney,IBM T. J. Watson Research Center

Abstract:  New communication and computing technologies are enabling people to come together to achieve higher quality of life and to develop innovative products and services. The down-to-earth problem of building these informational systems, however, is entangled with theoretical questions of what is possible and what is impossible when bringing together ubiquitous informational technologies with the people and organizations they are transforming. Group decision-making, information factories, and crowdsourcing are all ways of structuring systems to draw on the strengths of many, allowing collective intelligence rather than cacophony to emerge.

In this talk, I will discuss a mathematical model of human decision-making and show the benefits of diversity in groups. Next I will present a model of crowdsourcing with strategic players, and further show empirical evidence from a large-scale system we built that indicates the importance of drawing human attention. A thermodynamic interpretation leads us to ask: is there a Carnot limit for knowledge work? In closing, I discuss how fundamental limits on the transmission of information provide insight into systems with humans and machines.

Biography:  Lav Varshney is a research scientist at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, where his current research focuses on social business, computational creativity, information and coding theory, and data analytics. He received the B. S. degree with honors in electrical and computer engineering (magna cum laude) from Cornell University. He received the S. M., E. E., and Ph. D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He held an NSF fellowship at MIT, and his master's thesis was awarded the E. A. Guillemin Thesis Award for best electrical engineering thesis and his doctoral thesis received the J.-A. Kong Award Honorable Mention for best electrical engineering thesis. He has also received a best paper award at the 2012 SRII Global Conference, and best student paper awards at the 2006 IEEE Data Compression Conference, the 2004 IEEE Conference on the History of Electronics, and the 2003 IEEE Radar Conference. He has received IBM eminence and excellence awards for his work on crowdsourcing and on incentive plans, and has been named a Forward Thinker by IBM for his work on culinary computational creativity.

For more information contact the technical host Frank Alexander, fja@lanl.gov, 665-4518.  If you'd like to make an appointment to meet with Varshney please contact Josephine Olivas, jojo@lanl.gov, 663-5725.

Download announcement here.

Hosted by the Information Science and Technology Institute (ISTI)

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