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.

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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 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.

Crisis Informatics Lab

The Crisis Informatics Lab is a confederation of faculty, graduate students and community organizations all aimed at studying and developing 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.

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.

Data Studies Group

The Data Studies Group is an interdisciplinary hub for Penn State faculty members and graduate students interested in exploring data, datafication, and digital life through critical, humanistic, and social scientific lenses. Relevant research themes include (for example): privacy and surveillance; AI and automated decision-making; data ethics, law, and policy; political economy of data; internet governance; data and the environment; and gig economies/futures of work. Beyond conducting research, DSG hosts a bi-weekly reading group, informal research colloquia, and speakers from inside and outside Penn State. The group is run by Daniel Susser in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology and Rock Ethics Institute.

Learn more: Data Studies Group
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.

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.

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.