Ken Goldberg wins award recognizing faculty research in the public interest

Ken Goldberg wins award recognizing faculty research in the public interest

The open-source, e-participation Collaborative Assessment and Feedback Engine platform (CAFE), developed by CITRIS People and Robots Director Ken Goldberg and team, was recognized with a public service award from Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in April.

Berkeley News: Among this year’s winners of Berkeley’s prestigious Awards of Public Service are the Cal Veterans student group whose members volunteered to help people who lost their homes during the North Bay wildfires, an undergraduate student who figured out a new way for social workers to help disadvantaged communities and two staffers who launched a civic-action email list.

The award recognizes students, staff and faculty who embody UC Berkeley’s tradition of public service.

“These efforts have also reaffirmed the notion that uniting scholarship with action to make the world a better place is an essential element of the Berkeley educational model,” Chancellor Carol Christ said during the awards ceremony Monday. “It is in our DNA.”

Ken Goldberg, winner of an award recognizing faculty research in the public interest

Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering and operations at the College of Engineering, and a team of postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students have spent the last four years developing the Collaborative Assessment and Feedback Engine (CAFE), an open-source, e-participation platform that provides participants with dynamic visual feedback about their position on key social issues, applies statistical models and collaborative filtering to rapidly discover emerging trends as data is collected, and presents emerging insights back to participants and decision-makers in near real time.

The team has successfully implemented CAFE to address a variety of social issues, from the effectiveness of family planning measures in Uganda to the political context of midterm elections in Mexico. Altogether, the platform has gathered feedback from over 25,000 participants across four countries. By fostering open-ended dialogue and facilitating a more nuanced assessment of public opinion about complex issues, CAFE enables more informed organizational decisions while increasing participant engagement in decision-making processes.

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Photo: Keegan Houser