Research Centers and Labs

The College of IST's research centers, labs, and groups include national and international scholars which cover a broad spectrum of research areas. The diversity of research we cover is driven by our spirit for interdisciplinary collaborations that advance discovery at the intersection of information, technology, and society. In addition to our own facilities, we have relationships with related centers and labs across Penn State.

3C Informatics Laboratory

The 3C Informatics Laboratory studies and develops strategies for how technologies could improve and empower physical communities, their leaders, and their organizations. We are concerned with the ways in which social, cultural, political, economic, and organizational structures impact and are impacted by information technologies. We are highly interdisciplinary team drawing from several academic fields, such as information science, information systems, computer science, software engineering, social sciences, planning, development studies, and sociology, to answer our questions.

Algorithmic Learning, Privacy and Security (ALPS) Laboratory

The ALPS Laboratory is a group of multidisciplinary researchers that conducts cutting-edge research at the intersection of machine learning, computational privacy, and cybersecurity. Our mission is to fully unleash the potential of data-driven algorithmic systems to support groundbreaking discoveries and critical decision-making. We look to the real world for practical and important problems. Then, we aim to develop effective, scalable analytical tools to empower such systems and mitigate their negative impact on individuals and society.

Applied Cognitive Science Laboratory

The Applied Cognitive Science Laboratory aims to understand how the mind works by modeling its output and process through precise, computational, predictive descriptions. Our projects focus on models that explain human behavior for testing human-computer interfaces, expand our understanding of network formation, and explore how moderators such as caffeine and stress influence behavior. Our simulations show how the mind interacts with networked teams and communities and how these properties give rise to emergent group cognition.

Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory

The Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory conducts research in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, information integration, and semantic web. Its projects explore applications in bioinformatics, engineering informatics, cheminformatics, materials informatics, social informatics, and related areas.

Center for Big Data and Discovery Informatics

The Center for Big Data Analytics and Discovery Informatics aims to accelerate advances in a number of fields by addressing the challenges in data management, data integration, data analytics, and predictive modeling and simulation to realize the full potential of big data. Our researchers seek to understand how scientists, decision makers, and the public at large can use this wealth of information to drive not only scientific discovery but also decisions and policies.

Center for Cyber-Security, Information Privacy, and Trust

The Center for Cyber-Security, Information Privacy, and Trust—also known as the LIONS Center—conducts interdisciplinary research in cybersecurity and privacy. We pursue projects that detect and remove threats of information misuse to the human society, mitigate risk, reduce uncertainty, and enhance predictability and trust. Our goal is to play a leading role in helping Penn State pursue security and risk research and development opportunities for the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and Department of Defense.

Center for Human-Computer Interaction

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary organizational unit for human-computer interaction research, instruction, and outreach within Penn State and beyond. The center seeks to leverage and integrate diverse HCI activities throughout the University to facilitate interdisciplinary faculty interaction relating to HCI issues, problems, and opportunities. Our work currently focuses on software and information design, end-user programming and design, collaborative learning, online communities, training and instructional design, community health applications, and many other areas.

Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence

The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence is a multi-unit initiative that promotes the thoughtful development and application of AI and studies its impact on all areas of human endeavor. In addition to supporting research focused explicitly on AI for social good and mitigating threats from its misuse, through this center, Penn State encourages that all AI research and development activities consider social and ethical implications as well as intended and possible unintended consequences. 

Collaboration and Innovation Laboratory

The Collaboration and Innovation Laboratory works in concert with the Center for Human-Computer Interaction. Our research addresses a wide range of challenge areas in which people collectively and individually use information technology to learn and solve problems. Our work currently focuses on software and information design, end-user programming and design, collaborative learning, online communities, training and instructional design, community health applications, and many other areas.

Crowd-AI Laboratory

The Crowd-AI Laboratory focuses on combining artificial intelligence with crowdsourcing to create systems that are more usable, robust, and intelligent. Our researchers work on real-time crowdsourcing, conversational agents, technical human-computer interaction, and natural language processing to understand how people can use automated technologies in context and how automated technologies serve people’s practical needs.

Cultural Research in Technology (CRIT) Lab

The Cultural Research in Technology (CRIT) Lab, co-directed by Jeffrey Bardzell and Shaowen Bardzell, researches and advances computing and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) scholarship leveraging critical and humanistic theory, methodology, and practice. CRIT Lab brings humanistic and design thinking to the design of interactive technologies; critiques interactive technologies with regard to their sociocultural impacts; and investigates users, use-situations, and technologies where culture is strongly implicated in the success of the technology.

Active and past HCI research topics include sustainable and computational agriculture, environmental justice, women's health, Feminist HCI, aesthetic interaction, craft/DIY/hacking, creativity support, bottom-up innovation and tech entrepreneurship, research through design, critical design, design activism, design theory, domestic technology design, intimate and sexual interaction, and virtual world collaboration, among others.

Cyber Security Laboratory

The Cyber Security Laboratory aims to advance leading cybersecurity knowledge and discovery across a variety of domains. Current and past projects have explored attack-resilient automated control of unmanned aerial vehicles, privacy protection in social networks, software plagiarism detection, classification and attribution of malware analysis, security issues related to Internet of Things devices, computer-aided human centric cyber situation awareness, and proactive worm containment, among many others.

Human Language Technologies Laboratory

The Human Language Technologies Laboratory aims to solve problems to enable computers to do meaningful work with large volumes of text. Natural language is crucial to how humans communicate, synthesize, and store information. Our researchers develop methods for natural language processing and apply them to a variety of domains, including privacy, online social networks, web science, and digital libraries.

Institute for Information Policy

The Institute for Information Policy is a joint venture of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and the College of Information Sciences and Technology. The IIP conducts groundbreaking research and innovative programs on the social implications of information technology, with an emphasis on the potential of information technologies for improving democratic discourse, social responsibility, and quality of life. Its annual workshops unite experts to share research on issues of access and security.

Intelligent Information Systems Laboratory

The Intelligent Information Systems Research Laboratory aims to explore and support all levels of research that will improve and enhance our ability to generate, manage, search, and mine information and knowledge. Current research covers internet database design and analysis, mobile web computing, web mining and navigation, web agents, novel and intelligent web tools, multimedia retrieval, web and internet models, web usage, automatic content analysis and digital libraries, web search, niche search engines, and information retrieval.

Knowledge Visualization Laboratory

The Knowledge Visualization Laboratory seeks to understand the frontier issues in visual analytics, an area with a goal to augment data-driven decision-making by bridging computational capacities of computing systems and analytical skills of human beings. Our research focuses on the visualization-based tools that have become essential to human-data interaction by exploring the relevant cognitive theories, such as visual cognition, problem-solving theories, and learning theories, that impact human-computer interaction and decision-making.

Penn State Information, Knowledge, and wEb Laboratory

The Penn State Information, Knowledge, and Web Laboratory—also known as PIKE—researches issues involving the management of and mining in data in diverse forms, including structured records, text, multimedia, social media, and web. Current and past projects have focused on developing computational techniques to detect and prevent fake news, creating a fairness-aware recommendation engine between cybersecurity job postings and job seekers' skills, and advancing machine learning methods to model the psychological phenomenon known as memory illusion.

Red Cell Analytics Laboratory

The Red Cell Analytics Laboratory promotes the research, practice, and application of structured analytics, critical thinking, and visual analytics, and collaborates with University and external partners on security and risk-related problems. Our goal is to provide hands-on experience using structured analytics to examine real-world issues, including cyberthreats, natural disasters, and physical threats. We think like the adversary to identify blind spots and gaps in the systems that are in place today.

Software Systems Security Laboratory

The Software Systems Security Laboratory explores the broad area of software systems, including software security, protection, analysis, verification, software and information assurance, programming languages, and software engineering. Our research improves the practice of software design and implementation by creating high assurance secure computing and information platforms and systems, improving software and systems security, developing innovative software analysis and verification technologies, and promoting rigorous and secure software engineering practice.

User Agency Lab

The User Agency Lab studies issues involving how information, user information, and systems structure influence user agency. Current and past projects have explored ride sharing, collaborative documents, crowdsourcing, and social media.

Learn more: User Agency Lab
Wellbeing & Health Innovation Laboratory

The Wellbeing & Health Innovation Laboratory aims to develop novel human-computer interaction and UbiComp technologies to improve health and wellbeing at scale. Our research leverages mobile phones, sensors, and online data to passively model health behaviors and contexts. We also design data-driven and just-in-time interventions with a focus on sustained engagement. Our interdisciplinary research includes passive sensing of sleep and circadian disruption, relapse detection in bipolar disorder, and using Amazon Alexa for effective PTSD interventions.