About Societal Computing
Societal Computing research is concerned with the impact of computational tradeoffs on societal issues and focuses on aspects of computer science that address significant issues and concerns facing the society as a whole such as Privacy, Climate Change, Green Computing, Sustainability, and Cultural Differences. In particular, Societal Computing research will focus on the research challenges that arise due to the tradeoffs among these areas.
As Social Computing has increasingly captivated the general public, it has become a popular research area for computer scientists. Social Computing research focuses on online social behavior and using artifacts derived from it for providing recommendations and other useful community knowledge. Unfortunately, some of that behavior and
knowledge incur societal costs, particularly with regards to Privacy, which is viewed quite differently by different populations as well as regulated differently in different locales. But clever technical solutions to those challenges may impose additional societal costs, e.g., by consuming substantial resources at odds with Green Computing,
another major area of societal concern.
Societal Computing focuses on the technical tradeoffs among computational models and application domains that raise significant societal issues. We feel that these topics, and Societal Computing in general, need to gain prominence as they will provide useful avenues of research leading to increasing benefits for society as a whole.
We have positions available for students at multiple levels – interested students should view our project student ads.
Contact: Swapneel Sheth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Prof. Gail Kaiser, kaiser [at] cs.columbia.edu
Swapneel Sheth, swapneel [at] cs.columbia.edu
Former project students
Privacy User Study
Willing to share your experience and perspectives about User Privacy? Join us as a part of a user study on privacy!
To volunteer, please send an email indicating your general availability and preference for online questionnaire and/or face-to-face interview. Must be at least 18 years old!
Contact: Swapneel Sheth, swapneel [at] cs.columbia.edu
Available student project positions:
As privacy is becoming an increasingly important concern for, both, end-users and software developers, we are planning to conduct a few user studies to find answers to some of the following questions: 1) For end-users (as opposed to software developers), does privacy matter? What aspects of privacy are more important? 2) Can we improve the usability and understandability of Privacy Settings on, e.g., social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter? 3) What kind of tradeoffs among Privacy, Green Computing, Laws, etc. are users most concerned about? 4) What kinds of tools would users prefer to inform tell them that their privacy settings have been breached in social websites? We’re looking for project students to conduct/design such user studies.