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Press Release 030/2012

Workforce from the Digital Cloud

IT at KIT: Researchers Develop Quality Management System for Online Platforms Pooling the Workforce and Creativity of Freelancers via the Internet
Über seinen Computer kann jeder Teil einer
Via the PC, everybody may become part of a “people cloud” and contribute workforce to a crowd sourcing project. (Photo: endostock / Fotolia)

By means of cloud computing, enterprises can access scalable computing power and storage capacity. A people cloud, by contrast, supplies a scalable number of workers via the internet. It is used when non-automated tasks are executed, such as allocating images, searching information, or writing texts. The challenge is to maintain the quality of the work results on a constant high level. Now, this is achieved by a quality management system developed by KIT.

Also in times of constantly increasing computing power, people are indispensable for executing certain tasks. Such tasks include activities that cannot or can hardly be automated. Examples are the setting up of texts and product descriptions, translations, web searches, or the indexing and classification of images and videos. If the tasks are very extensive, they can be split up into individual so-called microjobs and transferred to parallel processing by several workers. This is referred to as paid crowd sourcing. On web portals, interested freelancers, the so-called crowd workers, can register. Depending on their qualification and area of interest, they can select tasks and process them in a temporarily and spatially flexible manner. The results of the jobs executed are compiled by the portal supplier and transmitted to the client.

“Before the individual results of the microjobs executed are compiled again, it must be ensured that they comply with the quality standards required. This is a big challenge, as the contributions of the individual crowd workers in a crowd sourcing scenario can be controlled to a limited extent only,” says Robert Kern. “This is where our quality management system starts to work. Its approach: We combine the contributions of several crowd workers by means of statistical methods and derive the quality of the work rendered from the degree of the contributions’ agreement and, thus, ensure the required quality of the overall result.” The instrument developed by KIT is already applied in cooperation projects with industry, for instance, with the leading crowd sourcing supplier clickworker.com.

A people cloud, i.e. all crowd workers, can supply a large spectrum of expertise and creativity to a company. The companies also consider the speed, scalability, and reduced fixed costs of project execution to be of crucial importance. Crowd workers appreciate the high variety of tasks and spatial and temporal independence in earning auxiliary income. The remuneration of the crowd workers depends on the processing expenditure and complexity of tasks.


More information on the people cloud project:
http://www.ksri.kit.edu/PeopleClouds



IT at KIT: This Year’s Highlights
At the CeBIT in Hanover on March 6, 2012, KIT will present current research from its focuses COMMputation as well as Anthropomatics and Robotics (hall 9, stand G33). Information technology will also be in the focus of KIT’s annual reception on March 22, to which numerous partners from industry and science have been invited. The first German department of informatics will celebrate its 40th anniversary at KIT in autumn.

Information technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is bundled into two focuses. The KIT COMMputation Focus integrates communication and computation for development of devices with capabilities to interact, to perceive their environment, and to adapt to dynamically changing requirements. Researchers from the fields of informatics, electrical engineering, information technology, and economics cooperate to develop new concepts, architectures, methods, tools, and applications for the relevant complex systems.  

The KIT Anthropomatics and Robotics Focus intends to improve the quality of life of humans. Using methods of informatics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology, social sciences, and humanities, symbiotic systems are developed after the models of human anatomy, motor functions, perception, and behavior. The research topics range from machine intelligence, human-centered robotics, multimodal interaction and robot technology through to industrial robotics.

 

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation according to the legislation of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. Research activities focus on energy, the natural and built environment as well as on society and technology and cover the whole range extending from fundamental aspects to application. With about 9400 employees, including more than 6000 staff members in the science and education sector, and 24500 students, KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions in Europe. Work of KIT is based on the knowledge triangle of research, teaching, and innovation.

tp, 29.02.2012

For further information, please contact:

Kosta Schinarakis
PKM, Themenscout
Tel.: +49 721 608-41956
Fax: +49 721 608-43568
E-Mail:schinarakis@kit.edu
The press release is available as a PDF file.