IST researchers awarded more than $1.6 million to support upcoming projects

October 15, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At the start of the fall 2018 semester, researchers in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology have been awarded more than $1.6 million in funding to support new research projects.

According to Andrew Sears, dean in the College of IST, research funding has increased by 60 percent since 2015.

“It is exciting to watch the interdisciplinary and international projects on which IST’s faculty are collaborating, and the large variety of domains that are influenced by this research,” said Sears. “Continued funding allows our researchers to assemble larger teams to tackle bigger problems, increasing the impact of our faculty, students and the college as a whole.” 

Recently funded projects include:

"Enabling Precise and Automated Insecurity Analysis of Middleware on Mobile Platforms"

Peng Liu, Raymond G. Tronzo M.D. Professor of Cybersecurity, will explore innovative techniques and new tools to improve current vulnerable middleware that runs on more than two billion Android mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The research could lead to more secure and trustworthy computing environments for millions of Android and IoT device users. Liu will work on the project in collaboration with Lannan Luo of the University of South Carolina and Qiang Zeng of Temple University. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation, with an award of $165,495 (the total collaborative budget amount is $500,000).

"U.S. Rwanda Collaborative Research on Data Flows in IoT Applications"

Carleen Maitland, associate professor of information sciences and technology, will lead an International Research Experience for Students (IRES) Site Program conducting research while educating and training  18 graduate students — six per cohort — over three years. In collaboration with Maitland and mentors from the University of Rwanda and Carnegie Mellon Africa, the students will carry out research projects with the goal of making local IoT data available to global data scientists. Through the collaboration, mentors and students complete three projects: (1) designing unmanned aerial vehicle systems to collect, process and distribute image data from refugee gardens; (2) designing device-to-device communication systems with limited access to a power grid to improve crop information on tea estates; and (3) analyzing IoT policies at national and organizational levels to identify trends in Rwandan IoT use, system vulnerabilities and data sharing practices. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation, with an award of $299,870.

"Hands-Free Electronic Health Record Data Entry Initiative"

David Reitter, associate professor of information sciences and technology, will lend his expertise in computational cognition to this project led by Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory. The project will help emergency medical specialists working in fast-paced, high-stakes environments — including war zones — to record data about patients’ health statuses and treatments by utilizing speech recognition and natural language processing. The team is developing an augmented-reality headset with software designed to recognize a doctor’s or other medical professional’s spoken notes, which are transcribed, organized and made part of a patient’s electronic medical record. The prime sponsor of the project is the U.S. Army, with partial funding for Reitter’s work totaling $92,552.

"Simulating Training Results to Understand Differing Effects of Fidelity on Learning"

Frank Ritter, professor, and Sarah Stager, assistant teaching professor, both at University Park, and Martin K.C. Yeh, assistant professor at Penn State Brandywine, will examine the effect of how simulation fidelity, trainee experience and tasks interact to produce different learning outcomes. The team will also develop training simulations for use by Navy maintainers and will validate and develop requirements for future developers and the acquisition community. The project is funded by Charles River Analytics, Inc. through federal flow from the Office of Naval Research, with an award of $452,003.

"Perceptions of Fairness and Justice in AI Software for Talent Acquisition"

Lynette Yarger, associate professor of information sciences and technology, will explore the development of qualitative instruments and metrics that can be used to measure perceptions of algorithmic fairness and justice in recruiting and hiring decisions that are assisted by artificial intelligence. In the project, the research team will elicit and analyze perceptions of human resources personnel, African American job seekers and AI software designers to inform the design of bias recognition and mitigation procedures and technologies for both humans and the algorithms being used. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation, with an award of $225,054.

"Learning to Discover Structure for 3D vision"

Zihan Zhou, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, strives to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of 3D vision systems by developing a principled way to discover structure from 2D images. The project plans to build a new data-driven framework for structure discovery, leveraging the availability of massive visual 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 manmade environments, virtual and augmented reality and indoor rescue robots. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation, with an award of $449,223.

Last Updated October 15, 2018