I am a computer science PhD student at the University of Washington where I work with James Landay and Dan Weld. I was an undergraduate and MEng student at MIT working with Rob Miller.

My research is in human-computer interaction and crowdsourcing. I build hybrid human-computer systems that combine the strengths of human and machine intelligence to solve problems that are big, hard, ill-defined and creative.

My dissertation is on Dynamic Crowd Algorithms. Dynamic crowd algorithms solve complex problems by using people to explore conceptual solution spaces with microtasks, and algorithms to guide the exploration to completion. I have built and deployed four systems that decompose and solve complex problems using dynamic crowd algorithms. My evaluation shows increased group efficacy and individual creativity.


A Microtask Workflow for Generating News Satire
Humor is a highly valued human skill - a sign of creativity and intelligence. HumorTools decomposes the process of writing news satire into easy microtasks. Microtasks are dynamically combined to write jokes following a process adapted from the iterative design process.

Crowdsourcing Taxonomy Creation
Taxonomies are essential for getting a big picture view on large datasets. Often human insight is needed to find the connections in data, but people find large organization tasks overwhelming. Cascade is an algorithm that crowdsources taxonomy creation by distributing the task into hundreds of easy subtasks. Each worker makes local judgements about data items without needing a global view of the data.

Human Computation Algorithms on Mechanical Turk

TurKit was the first demonstration of crowd algorithms on MTurk. It could solve hard problems like handwriting recognition by allowing workers to build on the insights of others. TurKit inspired and was used to implement Michael Bernstein's Soylent and and Jeff Bigham's VizWiz.


HumorTools: A Microtask Workflow for Generating News Satire
Lydia B. Chilton, Daniel S. Weld, James A. Landay.
In submission. 2016

Frenzy: Collaborative Data Organization for Creating Conference Sessions
Lydia B. Chilton, Juho Kim, Paul Andre, Felicia Cordeiro, James A. Landay , Daniel S. Weld, Steven P. Dow, Robert C. Miller, Haoqi Zhang.
Full Paper at CHI 2014. Honorable Mention for Best Paper

Cascade: Crowdsourcing Taxonomy Creation
Lydia B. Chilton, Greg Little, Darren Edge, Daniel S. Weld, James A. Landay.
Full Paper at CHI 2013.

Community clustering: Leveraging an academic crowd to form coherent conference sessions.
Paul Andre, Haoqi Zhang, Juho Kim, Lydia B. Chilton, Steven P. Dow, and Robert C. Miller.
HCOMP 2013. Honorable Mention for Best Paper

Cobi: A community-informed conference scheduling tool.
Juho Kim, Haoqi Zhang, Paul André, Lydia B. Chilton, Wendy Mackay, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, Robert C. Miller, and Steven P. Dow.
Full paper at UIST 2013.

Addressing Users' Queries directly in the Web Search Results
Lydia B. Chilton, Jaime Teevan
Full paper at WWW 2011.

Task Search in a Human Computation Market
Lydia B. Chilton, John J. Horton, Robert C. Miller, Shiri Azenkot.
Full paper at KDD-HCOMP 2010.

Exploring Iterative and Parallel Human Computation Processes
Greg Little, Lydia B. Chilton, Max Goldman, Robert C. Miller.
Full paper at KDD-HCOMP 2010.

TurKit: Human Computation Algorithms on Mechanical Turk
Greg Little, Lydia B. Chilton, Max Goldman, Robert C. Miller.
Full paper at UIST 2010.

The Labor Economics of Paid Crowdsourcing
John J. Horton, Lydia B. Chilton
Full paper at ACM E-Commerce 2010.

Seaweed: A web application for designing economic games.
Lydia B. Chilton, Clayton T. Sims, Max Goldman, Greg Little, and Robert C. Miller.

Tabulator: Exploring and analyzing linked data on the semantic web.
Tim Berners-Lee, Yuhsin Chen, Lydia B. Chilton, Dan Connolly, Ruth Dhanaraj, James Hollenbach, Adam Lerer, and David Sheets.
Semantic Web User Interaction Workshop, 2006.

Why We Customize the Web
Lydia B. Chilton, Robert C. Miller, Greg Little, and Chen-Hsiang Yu.
Chapter In A. Cypher, M. Dontcheva, T. Lau, and J. Nichols, eds., No Code Required: Giving Users Tools to Transform the Web, Elsevier, 2010.

Rewriting the Web with Chickenfoot
Robert C. Miller, Michael Bolin, Lydia B. Chilton, Greg Little, Matthew Webber, and Chen-Hsiang Yu.
Chapter In A. Cypher, M. Dontcheva, T. Lau, and J. Nichols, eds. No Code Required: Giving Users Tools to Transform the Web, Elsevier, 2010.

Community Leadership

CrowdCamp is hack-a-thon for crowdsourcing researchers. I co-organized the first workshop for crowdsourcing at CHI 2009 with over 100 attendants. Paul Andre lead the first follow-up at CHI 2011. I co-organized CrowdCamp at CSCW 2013 and HCOMP 2014. CrowdCamp is continues under new leadership at HCOMP 2015.

Follow the Crowd
Follow the Crowd is a blog initiated by myself and the other members of the crowdsourcing community. It is a place to summarize crowdsourcing research across academic conferences.

TurKit and the Deneme Blog
TurKit is a toolkit for running iterative tasks on Mechanical Turk. TurKit was developed by Greg Little. Greg and I and others post to Deneme, our blog about experiments exploring MTurk. If you do MTurk experiments, and want to share, we'd love you to post on Deneme.


I started and led a popular web programming competition as an undergraduate at MIT. As a graduate student, I have been a teaching assistant at Stanford, MIT, and the University of Washington.

6.470 MIT Web Programming Competition
  • I established 6.470, a month-long web programming class and competition for MIT students. I was the chairman in 2008 and 2009, and a staff member and instructor for 2010. The class serves approximately 100 students with a $40,000 annual budget from sponsor contributions.
Stanford University
  • Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction (CS 376) Spring 2015
University of Washington
  • Artificial Intelligence (CSE473, undergraduate version) Spring 2013
  • Machine Learning (CSE546, graduate version) Winter 2012
  • Artificial Intelligence (CSE473, undergraduate version) Autumn 2011
  • User Interface Design and Implementation (6.831) Spring 2009
  • Introduction to Java for Engineers (1.00) Spring 2008 and Fall 2009
  • Communication for EECS Majors (6.UAT) Fall 2008


I have lived in Beijing three times. My Chinese name is 高雅丽 (Gao1 Ya3Li4)

I recreated famous paintings on the walls of my undergraduate dorm, the infamous East Campus Dormitory of MIT.

William Shatner photobombed me at a Star Trek convention.

Lydia Chilton

Lydia Chilton
University of Washington
(510) 376-9964

currently a visiting student at Stanford
Stanford Computer Science #360
353 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

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