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: James Wang
Sponsoring Agency: Amazon Research Awards – Robotics Program
In this project, the team will conduct fundamental research to advance bodily expressed emotion understanding using an interdisciplinary approach crossing computing, statistical learning, and movement analysis. Breakthroughs in emotion understanding technologies have the potential to enable many innovative applications. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction
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: John M. Carroll, Zihan Zhou, Mary Beth Rosson
Sponsoring Agency: National Library of Medicine
The project will investigate prosthetic support for people with visual impairment (PVI) that integrates computer vision-based prosthetics with video-mediated human-in-the-loop prosthetics. We will employ a human-centered design approach, identifying a set of key assistive interaction scenarios that represent authentic needs and concerns of PVIs. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction, Social and Organizational Informatics
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, 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, Human-Computer Interaction, 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, Human-Computer Interaction, Privacy and Security, Social and Organizational Informatics
Term: -
Researcher: Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This study concerns the evolving collection of information technology practices that have been grouped under the umbrella of "making," which includes end-user experimentation with emerging forms of hardware and software such as open hardware, digital fabrication, Internet of Things, and more. Through empirical research, hands-on design workshops and international comparison, this project will examine and document successful pathways from making as hobby to socioeconomic driver, and how they are supported by technological, policy, economic, and pedagogical infrastructures. Learn more...
Research Areas: Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Benjamin Hanrahan
Sponsoring Agency: Naver Labs Europe
FLOW is a tool being developed by Naver Labs Europe, that will make developing mobile applications accessible to novices and beginning software developers. In this project, we will engage with individuals in rural West Virginia who have been displaced from their job or who are suffering a lack of economic opportunity to evaluate the FLOW toolkit. Learn more...
Research Areas: Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Yubo Kou
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This is a study of human implications of online moderation systems that deal with disruptive online behaviors, such as offensive language and hate speech, by issuing penalties such as content removal or account suspension to users they determine to be disruptive. The study site is a high-population online community, where the research will document and describe human-punishment interaction in terms of how users experience punishment, what are users' post-penalty actions, and what support resources users use for a better understanding of community behavioral standards and behavioral improvement. Learn more...
Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This research will provide rich insights into a new line of regional experiments with computer-based economic development in the American Midwest, rooted in collaborations between government, industry, and universities to drive their traditions of manufacturing excellence into the next generation. The research will inform the development of sociotechnical interventions supporting bottom-up innovation procedures and emergent outcomes. Learn more...
Research Areas: Human-Computer Interaction
Term: -
Researcher: Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
This research integrates two goals: to survey, document, and disseminate knowledge about innovation in alternative agriculture to the human-centered computing community, and to support alternative-agricultural innovation practices using system design approaches to develop novel technologies that build on and extend what is already happening on a diversity of experimental farms. Learn more...
Research Areas: Human-Computer Interaction
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
Term: -