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Spring 2016 iConnect MagazineSpring 2016

iConnect Magazine

iConnect, the magazine of the College of Information Sciences and Technology, is published twice a year by the Office of Communications and Outreach.


IST faculty engaged in fight against cyberterrorism

On February 9, the White House announced the Cyber Security National Action Plan, a major initiative to fortify the government's digital defenses and educate Americans about ways they can improve their own digital security. Improving national cyber defenses is a key component in combating terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which are relying on increasingly sophisticated techniques to wreak havoc on the international community.

IST professor examines how insurance companies can improve software security

From big box retailers like Target to online businesses like Zappos, recent history has illustrated that major companies are susceptible to data security breaches. Many of those breaches result from vulnerabilities in software products, prompting companies of various sizes to purchase cyber-insurance to minimize the fallout from cyber-incidents and to engage in improved overall risk management practices. Researchers at Penn State and University of California (UC) Berkeley are now proposing a paradigm shift for cyber-insurance in which insurance providers would take a proactive role in improving software security.

Wang receives Air Force grant to explore the future of science through big data

How does science work? What are the fundamental mechanisms underlying the scientific enterprise and to what degree can we understand and even predict science? Can we approach these questions from a data-driven perspective? These are questions Dashun Wang, assistant professor of information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State, hopes his research will answer.

Let go my info: People are info-egoists when it comes to their privacy

People are much more concerned about sharing their own private information with third-party app developers than they are about revealing their friends' data, according to Penn State researchers. However, as social media makes data increasingly interconnected, preserving one's own privacy while ignoring the privacy rights of others may make everybody's data more vulnerable, said Jens Grossklags, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State.

IST grad student forges ties with South Korean university through NSF fellowship

Priya Anand, a doctoral candidate in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), had an opportunity last summer to travel to Seoul, South Korea, to participate in a collaborative research project between Penn State and Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU). In addition to gathering useful data for her research on cloud security and expanding her professional network, Anand was able to get a glimpse of Korean culture, particularly its role in an academic environment.

Red Cell Analytics Lab

The College of Information Sciences and Technology's Red Cell Analytics Lab gives students an opportunity to think critically about evaluating and managing threats.

Anticipating security threats, analyzing disaster response, and thinking critically about how to better evaluate and manage threats—these are all things that Penn State's Red Cell Analytics Lab (RCAL) students do every day. 

Womens leadership conference opens doors for IST students

Opportunities for engaged scholarship outside of the classroom abound for students in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). Recently, two members of the IST Diplomat Leadership Academy — Erin McGovern and Elizabeth Kohler — attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Houston thanks to scholarship funding.

Students bring robots to life in new IST class

Adam Abbott, a senior at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), was recently feeling a little apprehensive. He was nervous that Nao, a 58-centimeter tall humanoid social robot, would falter during the brief dance that Abbott and his fellow students programmed it to perform for their final demonstration in IST 402: Human-Robot Interactions this past fall. Abbott’s group had programmed the robot to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and to the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” for their presentation but had run into some problems during trial runs. Fortunately, during the demonstration, the dance went off without a hitch.

Penn State researchers help create technology to promote world peace

Understanding the nature of international conflicts is a key component in stabilizing tensions between nation states. Researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Dallas are creating technology to analyze large amounts of newswire articles to help scholars address issues of global importance. “Our goal is to curate a database of news articles that detail militarized interstate disputes,” said David Reitter, an assistant professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST).

Maureen Kilian named new director of development and alumni relations for IST

Maureen Kilian has been named director of development and alumni relations for Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). Kilian, who served for eight years as director of major gifts for IST, accepted the position in December, bringing more than 20 years of technology and fundraising experience to her new role.

Cooney honored with Penn State Outstanding IST Alumni Award

Since graduating from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in 2006, Sean Cooney has had a unique career path that has led him to interesting places -- including a luxury yacht. In honor of his accomplishments in the information technology field, he was recently recognized by the college as the recipient of the 2015 Penn State Outstanding IST Alumni Award. “I am honored to have been selected for this award given how many successful IST alums there are in the workforce today,” Cooney said.

IST mourns the loss of David Hall, professor and former dean

David L. Hall, professor and former dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), died on Dec. 26, 2015, in State College. He was 69.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, with a reception to follow.

Penn State partners with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

On October 2, 2015, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) renewed two five-year partnerships with Penn State, one with the Department of Geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and another with the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL). The partnerships, or cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), focus on improving both education for geospatial analysts and an imaging tool used by geospatial analysts known as urban terrain zones (UTZs).