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:
Susser, Daniel
Sponsoring Agency: Microsoft Corporation
Important decisions are increasingly automated, delegated to algorithms susceptible to bias and other flaws. In order to guard against problems associated with automated decisions, it is often suggested that there should be a “human-in-the-loop”—i.e., some form of human review—at least in the case of high stakes decisions. But human decision-making is susceptible to its own biases and flaws, as well as to external influence. Today this includes a range of automated influences, such as targeted advertising, recommender systems, AI assistants, and digital nudges. While existing discussions tend to frame questions about these decision processes in binary terms—automated or not—this project aims to understand the normative implications of increasingly blended forms of human-machine decision-making. What ethics and policy questions are raised by decision-making systems that benefit from the strengths of both human and machine deciders, but also are subject to the weaknesses of each? How can ethics and policy guide a world in which individually and socially important decisions are reached by blended human-machine deciders? Learn more...
Research Areas: Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
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: Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Mitra, Prasenjit
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: Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Kumar, Priya
Sponsoring Agency: College of IST
This project will examine whether and how school librarians incorporate privacy and security into their educational efforts. Learn more...
Research Areas: Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Squicciarini, Anna
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: Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Yarger, Lynette
Sponsoring Agency: College of IST
This project aims to examine minoritized technology job seekers’ perspectives on fairness and equity in AI hiring systems to direct equitable policies for the design and use of these systems, determine potential injustices embedded in the predictions made by algorithms, and identify the impacts of these systems on minoritized technology job seekers. Learn more...
Research Areas: Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Wang, Suhang
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: Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher:
Tapia, Andrea
Sponsoring Agency: Texas Tech University
The focus of this project is to plan collaborative research on models for sustainable innovation in public safety communications focused on PSAP workforce training and practitioner-driven technology design. Learn more...
Research Areas: Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -