Attendee-Sourcing: Exploring The Design Space of Community-Informed Conference Scheduling


  • Anant Bhardwaj MIT CSAIL
  • Juho Kim MIT CSAIL
  • Steven Dow Carnegie Mellon University
  • David Karger MIT CSAIL
  • Sam Madden MIT CSAIL
  • Rob Miller MIT CSAIL
  • Haoqi Zhang Northwestern University



Confer, conference scheduling, mixed-initiative, crowdsourcing, community, community-sourcing, attendee-sourcing


Constructing a good conference schedule for a large multi-track conference needs to take into account the preferences and constraints of organizers, authors, and attendees. Creating a schedule which has fewer conflicts for authors and attendees, and thematically coherent sessions is a challenging task. Cobi introduced an alternative approach to conference scheduling by engaging the community to play an active role in the planning process. The current Cobi pipeline consists of committee-sourcing and author-sourcing to plan a conference schedule. We further explore the design space of community-sourcing by introducing attendee-sourcing -- a process that collects input from conference attendees and encodes them as preferences and constraints for creating sessions and schedule. For CHI 2014, a large multi-track conference in human-computer interaction with more than 3,000 attendees and 1,000 authors, we collected attendees’ preferences by making available all the accepted papers at the conference on a paper recommendation tool we built called Confer, for a period of 45 days before announcing the conference program (sessions and schedule). We compare the preferences marked on Confer with the preferences collected from Cobi’s author-sourcing approach. We show that attendee-sourcing can provide insights beyond what can be discovered by author-sourcing. For CHI 2014, the results show value in the method and attendees’ participation. It produces data that provides more alternatives in scheduling and complements data collected from other methods for creating coherent sessions and reducing conflicts.




How to Cite

Bhardwaj, A., Kim, J., Dow, S., Karger, D., Madden, S., Miller, R., & Zhang, H. (2014). Attendee-Sourcing: Exploring The Design Space of Community-Informed Conference Scheduling. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing, 2(1), 2-10.