Editor’s Choice: A fast-moving area of citizen science is in tackling “Big Data” problems by coupling the ability of machine algorithms to quickly process well-defined images with the human ability to discern patterns in images that are not as well-defined. This article describes Gravity Spy – a recent project that is at the vanguard of exploring the incredibly rich ways in which the combination of humans and machines can lead to the best possible outcomes. –LFF–
Gravity Spy is a citizen science project that draws on the contributions of both humans and machines to achieve its scientific goals. The system supports the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) by classifying “glitches” that interfere with observations. The system makes three advances on the current state of the art: explicit training for new volunteers, synergy between machine and human classification and support for discovery of new classes of glitch. As well, it provides a platform for human-centred computing research on motivation, learning and collaboration. The system has been launched and is currently in operation.