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.


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.


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).


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.

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+.

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[subset_sum] SubsetSum@Home retirement

So some news on the SubsetSum@Home front. Professor Tom O'Neil, the theorist behind this project is retiring this December, which leaves us without a specialist to analyze the results from the project. Because of this, and due to my time commitments on other research projects, we'll be retiring the project for the time being until we can find another theorist who would be interested in continuing this work.

In the meantime we'll be leaving the site up along with all the results we've currently generated for anyone who would like to use them.

Travis Desell on Monday, October 24th
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status update from eScience!

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for a long period of radio silence! Connor and I are in Baltimore this week at the [IEEE 12th International Conference on eScience]( presenting two papers related to Wildlife@Home:

Marshall Mattingly III, Andrew Barnas, Susan Ellis-Felege, Robert Newman, David Iles and Travis Desell. Developing a Citizen Science Web Portal for Manual and Automated Ecological Image Detection. The IEEE 12th International Conference on eScience (eScience 2016). Baltimore, MD, USA. October 23-27, 2016. View PDF.

Connor Bowley, Alicia Andes, Susan Ellis-Felege and Travis Desell. Detecting Wildlife in Uncontrolled Outdoor Video using Convolutional Neural Networks. The IEEE 12th International Conference on eScience (eScience 2016). Baltimore, MD, USA. October 23-27, 2016. View PDF.

I'm hoping to get some server updates done this week, and with any luck we'll have validation and new badges online for the Wildife@Home image classification soon.

We've been working behind the scenes on a new Wildlife@Home application, and things are coming along -- but not quite as swiftly as we'd like. I'm hoping we'll have something online by the end of this semester.


Travis Desell on Monday, October 24th
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SSL certificates installed

We've installed SSL certificates for, so it looks like is now working. Let me if you're having any problems!

Travis Desell on Saturday, October 22nd
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[subset_sum] status_update 4

The work generator kicked off overnight while I was sleeping (of course). More work should be flowing now that I've turned it back on.

Travis Desell on Sunday, June 19th
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[subset_sum] status update 3

I have a new work generator for subset sum up and running right now. I'm just watching it manually (so it won't be showing up on the status page until I'm comfortable with it running in the background full time).

The new work generator will be generating 500 WUs at a time when the number of available workunits dips below 1000. This will definitely fix the slow feeding issue we were having the last day, and I think it will also make wingmen workunits get sent out a lot quicker. I apologize, this should have been done sooner!

I'll keep you posted as things progress, and please let me know if you're having any other issues.

Travis Desell on Friday, June 17th
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