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.

Accessibility (A11y) Lab

A11y stands for Accessibility – there are 11 letters between the “A” and the “y." We believe accessibility is a human right; we also believe making things accessible for people with disabilities is a hard problem. Often, this problem is layered, multi-dimensinoal, and difficult to describe and theorize. At A11y Lab, we aim to address how to make non-visual interaction as efficient as visual interaction; how to make Assistive Technologies easy-to-learn, frictionless, and ubiquitous; how to build new assistive technology to augment or empower human capability; and how to design robust, efficient, and extensible accessibility APIs in modern Operating Systems.

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 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.

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.

Critical Technocultures Lab

The Critical Technocultures Lab explores how people develop and use data and technology as cultural and historical practices. We draw together scholarship in science and technology studies with critical orientations in human-computer interaction to both examine and design how technology aids in equitable and just futures.

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.

Health and Play Lab

The Health and Play Lab conducts human-computer interaction (HCI) research and focuses on health and play as two important human values. Fundamentally, we explore how technologies could support people and communities to be healthier and more playful.

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.

Spatial Information and Intelligence Laboratory

The Spatial Information and Intelligence Laboratory supports research activities that integrate computer vision, natural language understanding, human-computer conversation interactions/HCI, geographical information systems/visualization, collaborative systems, and geospatial decision-support technologies to address the grand challenge of large-scale, geocollaborative applications in digital government, crisis management, and civic engagement.

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.