Software Development with a Microtask Programming Hackathon


  • Rohan Shah Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Emad Aghayi Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Co-mentor
  • Dr. Thomas D. LaToza Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Primary Mentor



Microtask programming is a software development method that breaks down work on complex projects into self-contained “microtasks” that can be independently distributed to various developers in the crowd. Each microtask encompasses work such as implementing behavior in a function or conducting a code review. Previous research has shown the potential benefits of microtask programming, but in crowds limited to at most 20 developers. To investigate the potential for microtask programming in larger crowds, we are planning to conduct the world’s first Microtask Programming Hackathon (MPH). Unlike traditional hackathons, our MPH will have one fundamental difference: participants will work collectively on a single large project as opposed to many small projects. Participants will also compete in the MPH individually as opposed to working in groups. Winners will be chosen based on their contribution to the final project, quantified by the number of microtasks completed by the participant. Our findings will be used to help better understand how microtask programming may scale to larger crowds.





College of Engineering and Computing: Department of Computer Science