Current Research Projects

Research in IST cuts across traditional boundaries to drive interdisciplinary discovery and innovation. Our research is sponsored by a variety of national and international agencies, and we collaborate with diverse groups of scholars within and beyond Penn State. Explore our funded projects to see how IST's transformative research is addressing the world's most complex problems at the intersection of information, technology, and society.

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Researcher: Shomir Wilson
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This multi-disciplinary project aims to develop novel technology that will enable people to regain a sense of control by enabling them to simply ask questions about the privacy issues that matter to them rather than requiring them to read long, one-size-fits all privacy policies. This multi-disciplinary project aims to re-invent notice and choice, moving from long and hard-to-understand notices to interactive privacy dialogues with users. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Andrea Tapia, Anna Squicciarini
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
The goal of this project is to develop means to improve information quality and use in emergency response, increasing the value of using messaging and microblogged data from crowds of non-professional participants during disasters. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Benjamin Hanrahan
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project studies the ways that algorithmic management, using digital tools to automate and remotely manage workers, may negatively impact workers and their rights. The research will look specifically at ride-hailing platforms, which are rapidly replacing traditional taxi services. Researchers will develop an experimental ride-hailing platform that gives drivers and passengers control over parameters that impact algorithmic outcomes, as a means to understand and interact with the platform. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Prasenjit Mitra
Sponsoring Agency:
This project investigates the cognitive and motivational factors that support deep engagement with teacher’s data and which drive change. Specifically, we are investigating three outcomes: change in teachers’ beliefs regarding classroom discussion, change in teachers’ knowledge of effective strategies, and change in teachers’ behavior regarding the implementation of these strategies. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Zhenhui (Jessie) Li
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project develops novel data mining techniques to help people uncover the complicated correlations in the big urban data. Ultimately, this project strives to advance the techniques in urban computing, a nascent interdisciplinary research field that addresses the challenges and opportunities in the fast-evolving urban environments. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Saeed Abdullah
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project aims to address these engagement and adherence issues by developing a finite-state conversational agent (CA) for therapeutic content delivery and day-to-day illness management. Findings from this project can lead to more effective methods for keeping people engaged. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Andrea Tapia
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
The project investigates the use of big data analysis techniques for classifying crisis-related data in social media with respect to situational awareness categories, such as caution, advice, fatality, injury, and support, with the goal of helping emergency response teams identify useful information. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Suhang Wang, Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project explores effective labeled data generation via generative adversarial learning and proposes novel approaches based on generative adversarial learning for effective labeled data generation to facilitate deep learning with limited label information, investigates associated fundamental research issues and develops effective algorithms. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Sharon Huang
Sponsoring Agency: National Library of Medicine
In this project, we propose to develop and evaluate novel automatic techniques for medical data set expansion, especially for whole slide imaging dataset expansion, using generative adversarial network (GAN) technology. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics
Term: -
Researcher: Suhang Wang, Vasant Honavar
Sponsoring Agency: Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology
In this project, we embrace new challenges and opportunities to systematically investigate graph optimization via deep reinforcement learning and graph neural networks for various types of graphs. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Anna Squicciarini
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project investigates the complex chaotic behaviors that can emerge as a result of evolutionary dynamics on networks, develops techniques for dynamic control, and studies the problems associated with privacy and fairness among agents in these systems. The work focuses on semi-autonomous agents that interact with each other in a network and alter their instantaneous mixed strategies through evolutionary dynamics, with an emphasis on flocking and consensus dynamics. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: C. Lee Giles
Sponsoring Agency:
This project aims to allow scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and students to locate technical information using words, mathematical notation, or some of each. These new math-aware search engines will accelerate innovation by allowing searchers to discover information both across technical disciplines and, by using mathematical notation as a pivot, even across human languages. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Vasant Honavar
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project will put together numerous sources of large environmental and clinical data streams to enable the scientific community to address this question. By breaking current data silos, the broader scientific impacts will foster new routes of biomedical investigation for the big data community and will enable discoveries that will have behavioral, economic, environmental, and public health relevance. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics
Term: -
Researcher: Zihan Zhou
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project develops a novel data-driven framework for structure discovery in computer vision, leveraging the availability of massive data and recent advances in machine learning techniques. The techniques developed in this project can be applied to a wide spectrum of real-world applications such as 3D reconstruction of man-made environments, virtual and augmented reality, and indoor rescue robots. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: James Wang
Sponsoring Agency: PPG Industries
This project will analyze ship corrosion field reports and photographic images to develop a computational method to segment the images into corrosion or coating failure areas and to calculate the type and extent of corrosion or coating failure based on visual analysis. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Anna Squicciarini, Peter Forster
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project aims to build mathematical and data-driven models to understand the dynamics of extremist groups at scale, the patterns of their influence, and integrated micro (individual-level) and macro (group-level or system-level) data-driven models that can guide future interventions. This project provides a greater understanding of users' behavioral patterns and social dynamics related to online extremism. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Aiping Xiong, Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project will use social media data to examine the memory illusion with online information, and to understand how it is associated with people's trust in information on social media. Better understanding on the extent and impact of the memory illusion phenomenon using big data will inform machine-learning approaches to better measure trust in information with an additional human information-processing perspective. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Xiang Zhang
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This research aims to significantly extend the reliability and efficiency of large network analysis. The project has three research aims: developing novel memory-based random walk proximity measures that can effectively capture the similarity between nodes, studying the dual-network model and its applications, and designing robust and flexible multi-network algorithms for clustering and ranking. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Ting Wang
Sponsoring Agency: International Business Machine Corporation
The goal of Hardening and Orchestrating Responses Under Stress (HORUS) project is to enable dynamic response and adaptive protection for cyber hunting scenarios, leveraging (1) a cognitive threat analysis process to choose from effective protective responses and actions, (2) a game-theoretic model for action selection and attack anticipation, and (3) adversarial analysis of threats and hardening of detectors. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Vasant Honavar
Sponsoring Agency: National Library of Medicine
The Biomedical Big Data to Knowledge (B2D2K) Training Program will bring together Data Science researchers and educators from 5 colleges at Penn State to create a truly transformative multi-disciplinary predoctoral training environment. The goal of the B2D2K program is to train a diverse cohort comprising the next-generation biomedical data scientists. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics
Term: -
Researcher: Lynette (Kvasny) Yarger
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
In this project, a sociotechnical frame is applied to explore perceptions of fairness and justice of AI-supported talent acquisition algorithms. the investigator will elicit and analyze perceptions of human resources personnel, African American job seekers, and AI software designers. The outcomes will be used to inform the design of bias recognition and mitigation procedures and technologies for both humans and the algorithms being used. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: James Wang, Sarah Rajtmajer
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
The project aims to gain deeper insights into useful data collection for computational and data-driven modeling of emotions based on body language. Ultimately, by analyzing and harnessing a large quantity of carefully-collected affective data, using state-of-the-art machine learning and statistical modeling methodologies, future intelligent systems can be empowered with new capabilities of understanding human emotions. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This is a project to study what works to help students learn more effectively in the context of the ASSISTments system, an online system that provides both assistance to students and real time assessment data to teachers. This project will increase the assistance provided by the teacher and machine learning by incorporating video suggestions, such as those produced by the Kahn academy, targeted to the needs of the student. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Andrea Tapia
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project aims at taking a significant step forward in our understanding of how real-time data from social media and other sources can describe, predict, and prescribe practices to manage interdependent networks in crises. The results will significantly improve our understanding and management of infrastructure recovery from natural disasters. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Dongwon Lee, Aiping Xiong
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This funding establishes a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at Pennsylvania State University. An interdisciplinary team of experienced faculty mentors will guide undergraduate students in summer research projects focused on applying machine learning methods to solve cybersecurity problems, particularly cyber-attacks. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Anna Squicciarini, Sarah Rajtmajer
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project seeks to understand the unique evolution of privacy attitudes during crises by studying online self-disclosure during the coronavirus epidemic. This research will help us detect acts of self-disclosure in online settings and learn how oversharing is expedited or even encouraged during the coronavirus crisis. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Xinyu Xing
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project will provide much-needed automation for reproducing kernel bugs and vulnerabilities. If successful, the project will significantly advance computer security (for kernel vulnerability analysis) and contribute to the field of software engineering (for bug diagnosis and assessment). By improving the reproduction rate of kernel bugs, this project will also help with other parallel efforts for vulnerability patching and remediation. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Suhang Wang
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project proposes novel principles and mechanisms for scalable and interpretable graph neural networks to facilitate the adoption of GNNs on critical domains, investigates associated fundamental research issues and develops effective algorithms. The project offers the first comprehensive investigation on these directions, and the designed novel methodologies and tasks will deepen our understanding on the inner working mechanisms of GNNs and contribute to real-world applications. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This research will characterize what distinguishes stories that are likely to contain misinformation from others. These characteristics will be used to build a tool that calls out characteristics of a given article that are known to correlate with misinformation; they will also be used to develop training materials to help people make these judgments. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: Sungkyunkwan University Foundation
Using a large number of real-life datasets from The Washington Post, we explore three novel ideas in recommender systems: (1) how to learn individual preference differences deduced from different rating distributions of users; (2) how to improve the sparsity of a user-item rating matrix; and (3) how to handle different time decay patterns of popularity of items across users and domains. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Term: -
Researcher: Ting Wang
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project aims at understanding the security threats incurred by reusing third-party models as building blocks of machine learning (ML) systems and developing tools to help developers mitigate such threats throughout the lifecycle of ML systems. Outcomes from the project will improve ML security in applications from self-driving cars to authentication in the short term while promoting more principled practices of building and operating ML systems in the long run. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Carleen Maitland
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This IRES SITTE project will train 18 U.S. master's students in multicriteria design of and policies for IoT systems with the aim of making local IoT data available to global data scientists. This research will highlight current trends in Rwandan IoT use, system vulnerabilities, as well as national and organizational policies that may affect data sharing practices and hinder access by Big Data scientists. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Benjamin Hanrahan
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project aims to uplift workers and improve the marketplace for online work so that digital work may help with the economic recovery of regions whose traditional industries have left. This research aims to develop sustainable methods for transitioning workers to high-skilled and creative digital jobs that are unlikely to be automated in the near to medium term future. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Ting Wang
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
The transformative nature of this project is to completely rethink how to define and implement the interpretation of DNNs and how to exploit this interpretability as a bridge to understand and control the DNN behaviors. This project aims to develop RIDDLE, a new interpretable deep learning framework that is reliable, interactive, and debuggable. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security
Term: -
Researcher: Dongwon Lee
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project will create practical tools to bridge the gap between employers and individuals interested in cybersecurity careers, using the SFS program as a test bed. The project will also support a Community of Practice of cybersecurity educators to encourage the adoption of these innovative tools. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Vasant Honavar, Mary Beth Rosson, C. Lee Giles
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This project develops a virtual data collaboratory that can be accessed by researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs across institutional and geographic boundaries, fostering community engagement and accelerating interdisciplinary research. The end product is a fully-developed system for collaborative use by the research and education community. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Human-Computer Interaction, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: C. Lee Giles, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This Expeditions-in-Computing project explores holistic design of machine vision systems that have the potential to approach and eventually exceed the capabilities of human vision systems. The project aims to understand the fundamental mechanisms used in the visual cortex to enable the design of new vision algorithms and hardware fabrics that can improve power, speed, flexibility, and recognition accuracies relative to existing machine vision systems. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Health and Bioinformatics, Human-Computer Interaction, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -