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.

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).


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.

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[wildlife,climate] status update

Just a status update. Things are a bit hectic (I'm flying to Memphis today for another research project and will be there for the rest of the week) and the following week is our last week of classes so I apologize with slow movement on our end.

After the semester is over I have quite a bit of updates to make. Top of the list is to get the validator for the new Wildlife@Home image classification up and going (along with working progress bars) and have some top lists for this as well. We have a bunch of cool badges for the project as well.

We're still pushing for climate tweets as well, and it seems like I have a couple bugs to fix.

Please let me know if there are any other things you'd like moved up to the top of my to-do list so once the summer starts I can make sure things are working nicely here!

Travis Desell on Monday, May 9th
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[climate] making a push to classify some tweets for a publication

So our colleague Andrei is making a push to get 10 classifications for a set of 600 tweets - with the goal of comparing results from CSGrid to results he paid for on Amazon's mechanical turk. I'd like to show that you guys are much better at this!

We've almost got 10 classifications for each of those 600 tweets. 457 are completely finished, and the remaining ones all have over 4 classifications so we're almost there.

So if you could help us finish up these last tweets for a publication, or could help get the word out about it any help would really be appreciated!

Travis Desell on Wednesday, May 18th
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[climate, dna, subset_sum, wildlife] Citizen Science Grid Logo!

At long last we have a logo!

And just another plug for our twitter account:

Travis Desell on Thursday, April 21st
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[climate] fixes to tweet review page

So it looks like I found an issue in the validator that was potentially causing the climate tweets page to show tweets that it shouldn't be as it corrupted the required_views values for tweets. This should be fixed now -- let me know if you're having any more issues with it.

Travis Desell on Wednesday, April 13th
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[subset_sum] new batch of workunits being generated

More work should be flowing for subset sum now. Let me know if you have any issues!

Travis Desell on Tuesday, April 12th
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