HCI and globalization among week’s lectures

This week’s lectures are on a diverse assortment of topics, from human-computer interaction and globalization to women’s history and life along the Ohio River.

This afternoon, assistant professor of computer science Luis Von Ahn will lecture about his research in human computation. On Wednesday, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry Fellow Carolyn Lambert will talk about her Ohio River Lifeboat Project. On Thursday, Steven R. Weisman will deliver a lecture titled “Globalization, the World and the Bush Administration.” Later Thursday evening, Gerda Lerner will deliver the first Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women’s History.

Title: “Human Computation: Using Games to Channel Brainpower”

The Basics: Luis Von Ahn’s research can be described as “inventing novel techniques for utilizing the computational abilities … of humans,” according to his website. Von Ahn has developed video games that use human brainpower to solve problems that computers cannot. Among these is the ESP Game, in which people come up with words to describe a picture. These words can be used as a search database for pictures, which computers are unable to sort. Google has licensed the technology as the Google Image Labeler, which can be played online.

When: Today at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A

Title: “Ohio River Lifeboat Project”

The Basics: Carolyn Lambert will speak about her experience last summer living on an “eco-customized pontoon boat” on the Ohio River, according to her website. Along with a crew of environmentally-oriented artists and students, she docked her boat at about 60 places along the river, interacting with locals, sharing stories, and eating home-cooked meals.The goal of Lambert’s project was to connect Ohio residents with their river and each other. The project was motivated by “a desire to understand the range of uses of the Ohio River … and to transform ambivalence about water quality into advocacy,” she stated on her website.

When: Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Wright Room, University Center

Title: “Globalization, the World and the Bush Administration: A Perspective from the Front Lines of The New York Times

The Basics: Weisman’s talk will center on globalization and the Bush Administration from a journalist’s perspective. Weisman is the chief economic correspondent for The New York Times. His award-winning journalism has covered politics, economics, and international affairs. He has worked for The New York Times since 1968 and has served as a bureau chief in Tokyo and New Delhi.

When: Thursday at 4 p.m.

Where: Singleton Room, Roberts Engineering Hall

Subject: Gerda Lerner

The Basics: Lerner is a longtime social activist and a pioneer in women’s history. Born to a Jewish family in Austria in 1920, she escaped a Nazi imprisonment camp and came to the U.S. Since immigrating, she has had a distinguished career in social activism in Hollywood and New York, and in the 1960s became one of the first academics to study women’s history.

When: Thursday at 7 p.m.

Where: Giant Eagle Auditorium, Baker Hall A51.