Citizen science games: creating and improving video games that help science

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Seth Cooper

College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

At Constant Contact, 1601 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA


Video games provide a compelling framework for combining human problem solving with computational power to approach problems neither could solve alone. Recent work has shown that citizen science games can successfully engage the general public in contributing to scientific research. As primary examples, I will discuss Foldit and Nanocrafter, two online games built around involving players in biochemistry research. Foldit players have contributed to predicting and designing protein structures, and Nanocrafter allows players to build, simulate, and share DNA nanotechnology devices. This talk will also cover our general approach to citizen science using games, along with some of its benefits and challenges.


Seth Cooper is an assistant professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. He earned his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Seth is interested in using video games to solve difficult real-world problems, and has developed the citizen science games Foldit and Nanocrafter and early math educational games Refraction and Treefrog Treasure, among others. He has worked at Square Enix, Electronic Arts, and Pixar Animation Studios.

Evening schedule

  • 6:30 – 7:00  Networking over pizza and beverages
  • 7:00 – 8:30  Meeting
  • 8:30 – 9:00  CHI Dessert and more networking


Thank you to our generous sponsors. Interested in sponsoring BostonCHI? Let us know!

Constant Contact is hosting!

hireminds is sponsoring CHI Dessert!