Productivity Decomposed: Getting Big Things Done with Little Microtasks

Workshop at CHI 2016

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Call for Participation:
Accomplishing meaningful goals efficiently is often a challenge, especially given the time and resource constraints that people may have. However, research shows that breaking a large macro-task down into a series of small, context-free microtasks leads to higher quality work, makes the task easier, and supports recovery from interruption. While task decomposition previously had to be done by hand, it is now often possible to algorithmically break complex tasks all the way down into microtasks that can take as little as a few seconds each to complete.

The transformation of information work into micro-work will have a significant impact on when and how people work, and enable individuals and automated processes to efficiently and easily complete tasks that currently seem challenging through structured workflows via a processes called microproductivity. The rapid developments in micro-work, micro-volunteering, and micro-learning open up new frontiers for the future of microproductivity. This workshop seeks to bring together researchers interested in decomposition of larger tasks into microtasks, completion and aggregation of microtasks, and sourcing of tasks and microtasks.

We invite submissions of position papers, at most 2 pages in length in the ACM Extended Abstract format, that address one or more of the above topics. Position papers should include the discussion of an important aspect of microproductivity, a brief biography, and an overview of how the author’s work relates to the space. This will be a "working" workshop with limited time allocated for presentations; participants should not expect to present the content of their submissions to the group.

Submissions should be sent directly to, and will be curated by the workshop organizers. At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop and all participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the conference.

Important Dates:
- January 11, 2016: Submission deadline
- January 15, 2016: Notification
- May 8, 2016: Microproductivity meeting

Interested parties who need to make a decision about attending CHI prior to the end of 2015 and will do so based on workshop participation may submit a position paper by December 15, 2015. Those that do will be receive notification by December 21, 2015, as to whether their position paper was accepted, rejected, or deferred for January consideration.

Michael S. Bernstein (Stanford University)
Jeffrey P. Bigham (Carnegie Mellon University)
Carrie J. Cai (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Elizabeth M. Gerber (Northwestern University)
Shamsi T. Iqbal (Microsoft Research)
Jaime Teevan (Microsoft Research)

Program Committee
Justin Cheng (Stanford)
Lydia Chilton (UW)
Mary Czerwinski (MSR)
Laura Dabbish (CMU)
Steven Dow (UCSD)
Darren Edge (MSR)
Krzysztof Gajos (Harvard)
Philip Guo (Rochester)
Bonnie John (Cooper Union)
Walter Lasecki (Michigan)
Dan Liebling (MSR)
Rhema Linder (Texas A&M)
Gloria Mark (UC Irvine)
Andrés Monroy-Hernández (MSR)
Robert Miller (MIT)
Michael Nebeling (CMU)
Nuria Oliver (Telefonica)
Peter Organisciak (UIUC)
Niloufar Salehi (Stanford)
Rajan Vaish (Stanford)
Haoqi Zhang (Northwestern)

Workshop Abstract: pdf