STA and Clients and Teams

We have a range of projects this year. Read the descriptions below to get some idea of the projects, and begin thinking about a rank ordering of the projects for yourself. You should be willing to work on ANY of the projects, but I will try to give folks their preference when I can.

Topic
Socio-Technical Analysis Focus
Contact Person
Privacy and Data Sharing on PoliWiki This group will continue our collaboration on privacy issues with Shilad Sen of Macalester College on his PoliWiki project. This is an attempt to use a wiki format to encourage diversity of political interaction in an online community. This group will be working on more detailed design and implementation of informed consentaspect of PoliWiki. We know people do not read the click-through privacy agreements on websites, and earlier groups have proposed a variety of interface solutions. This group will test these solutions and suggest design and implementation solutions.
Shilad Sen ssen@macalester.edu
Ethics of Computer Modeling of the Cannon River The Northfield Downtown Development Committee (NDDC) has initiated a collaboration with Carleton and St. Olaf to do computer-based mathematical modeling of the effects of changes to the Cannon River in the downtown Northfield area (e.g. removing the dam). A math practicum team used this January to begin modeling some of these effects. Computer modeling is crucial to planning efforts, and opaque to its users and clients. Models make assumptions, leave out parameters, concentrate on easily modeled issues and aviod more complex ones, etc. But "the model says X" often is used as a reason to make planning decisions without awareness of these inadequacies and sources of bias. This team will look at the modeling process of the Cannon River, attempt to make the modeling process more transparent to users and clients, and propose revisions in the model or the modeling process for NDDC.
Ross Currier rcurrier@nddc.org
Ethics of Computer Modeling of Highway 3 traffic in Northfield The Northfield Downtown Development Committee (NDDC) often needs to work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to do computer-based mathematical modeling of the effects of changes to the Highway 3 corridor running through Northfield. Computer modeling is crucial to planning efforts, and opaque to its users and clients. Models make assumptions, leave out parameters, concentrate on easily modeled issues and aviod more complex ones, etc. But "the model says X" often is used as a reason to make planning decisions without awareness of these inadequacies and sources of bias. This team will look at past and proposed modeling processes of the HIghway 3 corridor and propose revisions in the modeling process for NDDC.
Ross Currier rcurrier@nddc.org
Designing a Public Consulting Repository The Northfield Downtown Development Committee (NDDC) has initiated a series of collaborations with students and scholars to study various issues of relevance to the community. NDDC is seeking advice on the techincal, social, and ethical issues associated with posting the documents associated with the collaborations in a public online archive. There are significant ethical issues associated with making such documents public (e.g. dated nature of data, privacy of data, access, etc.). This team will propose technical and policy solutions to NDDC for the establishment of such an archive.
Ross Currier rcurrier@nddc.org
A proposed industrial robot at Productivity Inc. Productivity Incis a private company that makes automated and computer-operated machine tools and robotics. They are developing a robot to do laser marking of small parts and have asked us to do an analysis of this proposed robot.
Greg Buck gbuck@productivity.com

 

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