Citizen Science Grid

The Citizen Science Grid is run by Travis Desell, an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Dakota. It is hosted by UND's Computational Research Center and Information Technology Systems and Services. The Citizen Science Grid is dedicated to supporting a wide range of research and educational projects using volunteer computing and citizen science, which you can read about and visit below.


The goal of DNA@Home is to discover what regulates the genes in DNA. Ever notice that skin cells are different from a muscle cells, which are different from a bone cells, even though all these cells have every gene in your genome? That's because not all genes are "on" all the time. Depending on the cell type and what the cell is trying to do at any given moment, only a subset of the genes are used, and the remainder are shut off. DNA@home uses statistical algorithms to unlock the key to this differential regulation, using your volunteered computers.


Wildlife@Home is citizen science project aimed at analyzing video gathered from various cameras recording wildlife. Currently the project is looking at video of sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus, and two federally protected species, interior least terns, Sternula antillarum, and piping plovers, Charadruis melodus to examine their nesting habits and ecology.

Climate Tweets

The Climate Tweets project is focused on personal opinions about climate change or global warming. The goal is to sort tweets and view the different views in various countries, how the discussion has changed over time, and how opinions change with political orientation. Classifying tweets allows us to discover patterns and coorelations in people's opinions about our world. It also helps us understand what people know about climate change. Please note that the tweets are unfiltered and may contain profanity or controversial views, and these are not the views of the Citizen Science Grid, any of our team, or funding agencies. Because of this the project is 18+.


The Subset Sum problem is described as follows: given a set of positive integers S and a target sum t, is there a subset of S whose sum is t? It is one of the well-know, so-called "hard" problems in computing. It's actually a very simple problem computationally, and the computer program to solve it is not extremely complicated. What's hard about it is the running time – all known exact algorithms have running time that is proportional to an exponential function of the number of elements in the set (for worst-case instances of the problem).

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[wildlife, climate, dna] continuing hardware issues

Hi All,

Our sys admins are still hard working to come up with a solution. Disk issues might not be resolved until Monday.


Travis Desell on Friday, December 9th
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[wildlife,dna,climate] hardware issues

Hi All,

There are some issues with the storage mount that CSG uses, so some of the interfaces may not be working while they work to fix it. Hopefully it should be resolved by the end of the day.


Travis Desell on Thursday, December 8th
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[wildlife] temporary issues with the video interface

I've been working on correcting issues with the video interface not submitting correctly or hanging on attempted submission. This issue stemmed from migrating our database to another server to reduce load / costs and us missing a couple references to the database. The corrected version of the interface should be live in the coming hours and video review should be smooth again.

It also appears that our data provider for the videos is having some technical issues, so videos may be flip between online / offline for the coming hours but a resolution is being worked on.

Marshall Mattingly on Friday, December 9th
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[wildlife] image review interface and general status update


I've been working on some interface tweaks to the image review system, and am pleased to say that it should work a little more smoothly now.

The major enhancements have been focused on getting consistent zooming working. The old algorithm and methods would sometimes allow the picture to go out of frame and wasn't saving the last zoom location correctly; everything should be smooth sailing on that front now.

I'm still looking into an issue where trackpads can have issues panning around the image and I'm looking into a way to condense the observations section on the left side.

We've also got a whole new set of aerial imagery and we're ready to start allowing you to go through our large collection of aerial images. Look for a post on that tonight or tomorrow :D.

Another large update will be BADGES! Finally (sorry, it's my fault for waiting this long), we'll be giving out credit and badges for reviewing the images. We're working on the final details in a meeting today and should have them working by the end of the week. There will be one set of badges for making observations and another set of badges when the observations are validated.

Any work you've done on the images will be counted retroactively, so don't worry about missing out on points.


Marshall Mattingly on Wednesday, November 30th
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[wildlife] best of conference award!

Just wanted to say congratulations to Marshall and the team. Our paper 'Developing a Citizen Science Web Portal for Manual and Automated Ecological Image Detection' was selected as one of the 4 papers to receive a Best of Conference award at eScience this year!

Travis Desell on Sunday, November 6th
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