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UC Irvine Team Studying Crowdprogramming

Two researchers at the University of California Irvine have been awarded $800,000 to continue their exploration of "crowdprogramming." Whereas crowdsourcing taps into a mass of people to provide input, generate ideas or solve problems, crowdprogramming tries to apply the same principles to software development.

Adriaan van der Hoek and Thomas LaToza are trying to figure out what aspects of software creation could be done by the "crowd." The challenge with software, according to the researchers' grant proposal, is that "it is inherently non-uniform, steeped with dependencies, difficult to describe in terms of the functionality desired and can be implemented in any number of ways." People don't always know what they want at the beginning of the project, which means the workflow can't be determined in advance.

The overall goal, according to a short description of the project, is to increase parallelism in development work, which could, in turn, "increase participation in open source development by lowering the barriers to contribute, enabling new economic models and allowing software to be constructed dramatically more quickly."

The researchers, who work out of the university's Department of Informatics in the School of Information and Computer Sciences, are creating CrowdCode, an integrated development environment specifically intended for the intricacies of crowd programming. That's being tested through the construction of a "short program" with a "small crowd."

Researchers from Zynga and Carnegie Mellon University are also participating. The work is expected to continue through mid-2018.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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