To establish, promote, and sustain an open source social fabric that embraces a communal approach to the research, education and practice of Civil Engineering


To develop cyberinfrastructure that promotes four dimensions of collaboration to enhance the capability for discovery and innovation


To not only foster the symbiotic relationship between research, education and practice, but also to engage the community to facilitate new collaborations and opportunities

What is OSD-CI?

OSD-CI represents a grassroots collaboratory for research, practice and education that will massively expand the resources available to address the nation’s infrastructure crisis by allowing open collaboration in four dimensions of hardware, software, knowledge and manpower. This project boldly invites the public at large, with appropriate mechanisms to assure trustworthiness in technical tasks as needed, to unite and address this nation's infrastructure crisis collectively.

How Does it Work?

This collaboratory would accept job submissions from end users (firms, researchers, fellow Citizen Engineers), who would specify relevant details (scope, constraints, models, etc.), deadlines, submission formats, and requisite credentials. Citizen Engineers with the proper membership status can volunteer to contribute to these job submissions, with the help of a tool repository and enhanced computational power through the portal’s computing cloud. The products produced by Citizen Engineers are archived in the collaboratory’s design gallery and can be retrieved and commented on by any member of the public to form a truly transparent archival system for Civil Infrastructure projects. These products are ultimately delivered back to the end user through various aggregation schemes.


Most social computing applications have only been attempted on projects with relatively modest technical demands. By shifting current modality of Civil Engineering to open-source approach, industry can be radically transformed by enlisting Citizen Engineers from around the globe. This shift was enabled by developing 5 different cyber-platforms (couched in 6 experiments) that allow crowds to collaborate across 4 dimensions: sharing software, sharing hardware, pooling their collective knowledge and pooling their effort in crowdsourced activities. Each platform is backed by schemas that paraskill complex engineering tasks for these non-expert crowds, while social science informs how best to maximize their attraction, retention, participation and performance.


Project engaged hundreds of Citizen Engineers worldwide who have used the portals I challenges like urgent human computing (post-earthquake image classification), designing sustainable housing, enabling pervasive human sensing (cellphone reports of damaged infrastructure), and paraskilling complex simulations using open sourced platforms in the cloud.

These Drupal-based portals, including two on Amazon Mechanical Turk, that have received over 10,000 hits with 1000 users from 70 countries. These portals produced 7 different databases including crowd-sourced classification of reconnaissance photos from Haiti Earthquake. See CI page.

Resulting Publications to Date: 15 conference publications/presentations, 1 Dissertation. See Publications Page.