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Software can automatically critique composition of digital photographs
Image: Patrick Mansell


Everyone may be a critic, but now Penn State researchers are paving a way for machines to get in on the act. However, the researchers add that their photo-analysis algorithm is designed to offer constructive feedback, not to replace photographers. The researchers have developed an algorithm that analyzes the arrangement of visual elements -- the composition -- of digital photographs.

Reading comprehension focus of NSF grant
Image: iStock


Understanding how different levels of readers comprehend science texts is the focus of a nearly $1 million grant awarded to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State psychology and education researchers by the National Science Foundation. The grant is one of 16 awarded across the country as part of the NSF's Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems program as well as NSF's support for the White House BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).

Maitland named co-director of Institute for Information Policy
Image: Emilee Spokus


A Penn State faculty member with expertise in information and communication technology use in humanitarian and international development organizations has been named co-director of the Institute for Information Policy (IIP) at the University. Carleen Maitland is an associate professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and an affiliate professor with the School of International Affairs.

Penn State researcher stresses the need to involve end users during design phase
Image: Penn State


John Carroll, Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, discusses how he involves the end user in design for the "Third Eye Project."




New version of Arts Festival app enables users to create own experiences
Image: Emilee Spokus


The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will once again bring more than 125,000 people to downtown State College and the University Park campus on July 9-12. With the aid of an app developed by researchers at the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), attendees of this year’s festival will also have an opportunity to create their own activities and connect with other festival goers through a “meetup” format.

Center for Online Innovation in Learning
Image: Penn State


Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) has announced it will fund seven new projects through its Research Initiation Grant program. The goal of the grant program is to provide seed money for Penn State researchers to gather preliminary evidence in the hope of pursuing external funding for larger studies that enhance teaching and learning through online innovation.

Teens who are exposed to minimal risks can, over time, develop coping strategies and be more resilient as new, more risky situations arise.
Image: ©iStockphoto


SEOUL, Korea -- Boosting teenagers' ability to cope with online risks, rather than trying to stop them from using the Internet, may be a more practical and effective strategy for keeping them safe, according to a team of researchers.

In a study, more resilient teens were less likely to suffer negative effects even if they were frequently online, said Haiyan Jia, post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology.

Bitcoin, a peer-to peer online payment system that was conceived in 2008, has experienced considerable growth in popularity and increasingly has been adopted as a viable payment scheme in mainstream electronic commerce. Now researchers — including Jens Grossklags, an assistant professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology — are working to provide guidelines for ensuring that the currency remains long-term viable and trustworthy.
Image: Penn State


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Bitcoin, a peer-to peer online payment system that was conceived in 2008, has experienced considerable growth in popularity and has increasingly been adopted as a viable payment scheme in mainstream electronic commerce. However, according to researchers, the decentralized and quasi-anonymous nature of Bitcoin renders it vulnerable to self-interested parties that seek to exploit the system.

St. Patrick's Day, 2015, brought a once-a-decade display of the aurora, here in "shamrock green."  Credit: NASA
Image: NASA


Dance of the spirits, it's known by the Cree, one of North America's largest groups of Native Americans. The phenomenon, called the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere and aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere, is indeed a dance of particles and magnetism between the sun and the Earth.

The sun continuously produces a solar wind of charged particles, or plasma. As that "breath" reaches Earth, it causes our planet's magnetic field to shapeshift from round to teardrop--with a long tail on the side farthest from the sun.

From left, Pamela Wisniewski, Haiyan Jia, and Jack Carroll, researchers at Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), are part of a team that is studying how different parental mediation strategies can help keep teens safe online. Image: Emilee Spokus
Image: Emilee Spokus


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Many parents struggle with the age-old question of when to give their children the space to navigate their own lives and learn by trial and error, and when to take a more proactive role in guiding them to sound decisions. In recent years, the widespread use of social networking sites among teens has introduced a new set of privacy and safety threats. According to researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), the ideal parental mediation strategy may be a combination of both approaches – taking some preventative measures without being too restrictive and taking reactive measures when teens put themselves at risk online.