Finding Jim Gray at Sea

It's Amazon week at Technometria! If you've followed the story of Jim Gray being lost at sea, you know that one of Computer Science's preeminent figures is in grave danger and possibly dead. I heard Jim Gray speak a few years ago at the University of Utah's Organick lecture.

The reason for the Amazon reference above is the part that Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MT) is playing the search for Gray. If you're not familiar with Mechanical Turk, it's a system for employing human intelligence to do small tasks for which humans are uniquely qualified. In this case, it's recognizing boats in satellite images.

This is a remarkable use of MT in search and rescue. I'm sure there could be many other uses in disaster recovery. If you've got a few minutes, pop over to Amazon and help in the search. It's quick, painless, and might really make a difference.

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