Social Computing
Creating sociotechnical systems that shape our urban environments.

We build software that shapes our cities.

More specifically, (1) we create micro-institutions in physical space, (2) we design social processes that allow others to replicate and evolve those micro-institutions, and (3) we write software that enables those social processes.

We use this process to create more robust, decentralized, human-scale systems in our cities. We are particularly focused on reinventing our current systems for learning, agriculture, and transportation.

Research Projects

  • Storyboards

    Sepandar Kamvar, Kevin Slavin, Jonathan Bobrow and Shantell Martin

    Giving opaque technology a glass house. Storyboards present the tinkerers or owners of electronic devices with stories of how their devices work. Just as the circuit board is a story of star-crossed lovers—Anode and Cathode—with its cast of characters (resistor, capacitor, transistor), Storyboards have their own characters driving a parallel visual narrative.

  • The Dog Programming Language

    Salman Ahmad and Sep Kamvar

    Dog is a new programming language that makes it easy and intuitive to create social applications. A key feature of Dog is built-in support for interacting with people. Dog provides a natural framework in which both people and computers can be sent requests and return results. It can perform a long-running computation while also displaying messages, requesting information, or sending operations to particular individuals or groups. By switching between machine and human computation, developers can create powerful workflows and model complex social processes without worrying about low-level technical details.

  • Wildflower Montessori

    Sep Kamvar, Katelyn Ryan, Mary Rockett, Yonatan Cohen, Kim Holleman, Kim Smith, Misse Carolan, Marcia Hubelbank, Angelina Hawley-Dolan, Castle O'Neill, Katie Tremblay, Catherine McTamaney

    Wildflower Montessori School is a pilot Lab School and the first in a new network of learning centers. Its aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between coffee shops and schools, between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between tactile, multisensory methods and abstract thinking. Wildflower will serve as a research platform to test new ideas in advancing the Montessori Method in the context of modern fluencies, as well as to test how to direct the organic growth of a social system that fosters the growth and connection of such schools.

  • You Are Here

    Sep Kamvar, Yonatan Cohen, Wesam Manassra, Pranav Ramkrishnan, Stephen Rife, Jia Zhang, Edward Faulkner, Kim Smith, Asa Oines, Jake Sanchez, and Jennifer Jang

    You Are Here is an experiment in microurbanism. In this project, we are creating 100 maps each of 100 different cities. Each map gives a collective portrait of one aspect of life in the city, and is designed to give communities meaningful micro-suggestions of what they might do to improve their city. The interplay between the visualizations and the community work they induce creates a collective, dynamic, urban-scale project.