Senior Research Programmer

yenchiah (at)
hsu.yenchia (at)
CREATE Lab, Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

I am a Senior Research Programmer in the CREATE Lab in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. My recent research focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating interactive systems that support citizen science with crowdsourcing, data visualization, and machine learning techniques.

Citizen science empowers amateurs and professionals to form partnerships and produce scientific knowledge. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency has adopt citizen science to engage the public in environmental protection (as shown here in detail). The US National Institutes of Health also uses citizen science to address environmental health concerns among communities (as shown here in detail). Moreover, the US federal government envisions citizen science as a strategy to promote public engagement in tackling critical real-world issues (as shown here in detail).

I received my Ph.D. degree in Robotics in 2018 from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Previously, I received my Master's degree in tangible interaction design in 2012 from the School of Architecture at CMU, where I studied and built prototypes of interactive robots and wearable devices. Prior to CMU, I earned dual Bachelor's degree in both architecture and computer science in 2010 at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan.

Research Interests

Citizen Science / Civic Engagement
Human Computation and Crowdsourcing
Interactive Data Visualization and Storytelling
Machine Learning / Computer Vision

Selected Conference Publications

Yen-Chia Hsu, Paul Dille, Jennifer Cross, Beatrice Dias, Randy Sargent, and Illah Nourbakhsh. 2017. Community-Empowered Air Quality Monitoring System. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2017). ACM. (Top 5% Honorable Mention Award)
Download PDF  |  Source  |  Blog  |  Appendix

Yen-Chia Hsu, Tay-Sheng Jeng, Yang-Ting Shen, and Po-Chun Chen. 2012. SynTag: A Web-based Platform for Labeling Real-time Video. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2012). ACM.
Download PDF  |  Source  |  Blog

Selected Press Releases about My Work

[Featured] Carnegie Mellon Scientists Use App to Track Foul Odors in Pittsburgh
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Ashley Murray (2017)

[Featured] Shenango Channel keeps an eye on the Neville Island sky
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Don Hopey (2015)

[Featured] Timelapse: Landsat Satellite Images of Climate Change
in TIME by Jeffrey Kluger (2013)

Air advocates read "scroll of smells" at health board meeting
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Don Hopey (2018)

Environmental groups pressure Allegheny County officials to crack down harder on polluters
in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TribLIVE) by Theresa Clift (2018)

Livestreaming Polluters to Enforce Environmental Policy: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Pittsburgh
in ProMarket by Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, Nicholas Z. Muller, and Yen-Chia Hsu (2018)

Inversion: The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh's Air
in ROCIS Initiative (Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces) by Mark Dixon (2018)

Will Pittsburgh flourish as a hub of eds and meds or gas and petrochemicals? Can we have it both ways?
in PublicSource by Teake Zuidema (2018)

Once again, Pittsburgh air ranks among the worst. Here's what you can do about it.
in NEXTpittsburgh by Melissa Rayworth (2018)

Turns Out Air Pollution Makes for Good Listening
in the Allegheny Front by Kara Holsopple (2018)

Allegheny County must crack down on odor emissions violations
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Rachel Filippini (2018)

Citizen Science: Do Try This at Home
in PC Magazine by Michelle Donahue (2018)

A whiff of citizen engagement powers Pittsburgh's new air pollution app
in StateScoop by Jason Shueh (2017)

A New Platform In Pittsburgh Lets Citizens Report Foul Smells
in PSFK by Zack Palm (2017)

The Smell PGH app helps track air pollution
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Anna Garner (2017)

Joint Comments from LU and LC on Draft Operating Permit for McConway and Torley
in Lawrenceville United by David Breingan (2017)

CREATE Lab clears the air with improved Smell PGH app and new website
in NEXTpittsburgh by Amanda Waltz (2017)

California Towns Adapt Carnegie Mellon's Smell Pittsburgh App
in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TribLIVE) by Matthew Santoni (2017)

Using Low-Cost Technology to Democratize Data and Protect Public Health
in Grantcraft by Philip Johnson (2017)

Does Your City Literally Stink? There's An App For That
in Fast Company Co.Design by Mark Wilson (2017)

Smell PGH App Helps Pittsburghers Report Foul Odors
in Carnegie Mellon University News by Byron Spice (2017)

Smell PGH Lets You Report Weird Smells in Pittsburgh
in TechCrunch by John Biggs (2017)

Smelly air? There's an app for that
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Stephen Riccardi AND Beatrice Dias (2017)

Smell Pittsburgh, an example of app to report pollution by foul odors
in Greenapps&web by Judit Urquijo (2017)

What it was like "Living Downwind" of Shenango Coke Works
in NEXTpittsburgh by Amanda Waltz (2017)

Life Smells Better After Shenango
in 90.5 WESA by Julie Grant (2017)

Lessons Learned from an Experiment in Infrastructuring
in Toxic News by Gwen Ottinger (2017)

If You Smell Something, Say Something: CMU Launches Mobile App Smell PGH
in the Glassblock by Adam Shuck (2016)

You Can Now Report Terrible Air in the 'Burgh with this New App
in the Allegheny Front by Lou Blouin (2016)

A Change in the Air After the Closure of the Shenango Coke Plant
in Group Against Smog and Pollution (2016)

A Missing Link in Making Meaning from Air Monitoring?
in the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) by Gwen Ottinger (2016)

A Community Advocacy Success Story
in HuffPost by Illah Nourbakhsh (2016)

A Change in the Air After the Closure of the Shenango Coke Plant
in Group Against Smog and Pollution (2016)

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week
in Pittsburgh City Paper by Ashley Murray (2015)

Shenango Channel Provides Online Resource For Sharing Images, Data About Coke Plant
in Carnegie Mellon University News by Byron Spice (2015)

Pollution cam: Now the public has an eye on Shenango, 24/7
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (2015)

Regulators reviewing Shenango Coke Works' compliance with 2012 consent decree
in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Don Hopey (2015)

A picture of Earth through time
in Google Official Blog (2013)

Building A Visual Planetary Time Machine
in Google Research Blog (2013)

in Google Earth Engine (2013)

How Google built a 52-terapixel time-lapse portrait of Earth
in Ars Technica by Sean Gallagher (2013)

Robotics Institute Helps Make Stunning Satellite Imagery Easily Accessible
in Carnegie Mellon University News (2013)

Selected Books Documenting My Work

Hack The Grid by Andrea Polli (2018)

Awards about My Work

[Academic] Top 5% Honorable Mention Paper Award, ACM CHI, USA (2017)

[International] Webby Awards, People's Voice Winner, Best Use of Video or Moving Image (2014)

[National] Best New Artist, The National Golden Award for Architecture, Taiwan (2009)