Buxton recipient of IST seed grant

Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) recently announced nine projects that will receive funding from the college’s Seed Grant Program.

The program provides preliminary funding for IST faculty to initiate new research projects. The college solicited research proposals throughout the fall 2017 semester, and an ad hoc faculty committee reviewed and provided recommendations to the College of IST dean for final selection.

“Our seed funding initiative recognizes promising research proposals and supports these efforts with the early funding that is critical to their success,” said Andrew Sears, dean of the College of IST. “We’ve been fortunate to see a growing number of these proposals result in larger, externally-funded research projects that provide financial support for undergraduate and graduate students as these research teams seek to advance our understanding in a variety of areas.”

The nine projects selected for funding are:

  •  “Benchmarking, Detecting, and Diagnosing Real-World Performance Bugs,” by Linhai Song, assistant professor of IST, and Dinghao Wu, associate professor of IST
  •  “Cyber-Physical Intrusion Detection for Urban Connected Vehicles,” by Peng Liu, professor of IST, and Minghui Zhu, Dorothy Quiggle Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
  •  “Declarative to Procedural (D2P) Tutors,” by Frank Ritter, professor of IST, and Ed Glantz, associate teaching professor of IST
  •  “Development of Algorithms for On-Site Placental Assessment,” by James Z. Wang, professor of IST; Alison D. Gernand, Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health and assistant professor of nutrition; and collaborators from two other U.S. research universities
  •  “Elucidating the Effects of Sleep and Blood Sugar,” by Vasant Honavar, professor and Edward Frymoyer Chair of IST, and Orfeu M. Buxton, associate professor of biobehavioral health
  •  “Facilitating the Reproduction and Verification of Crowd-Reported Security Vulnerabilities,” by Xinyu Xing, assistant professor of IST, and Gang Wang, assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech
  •  “Talking to Machines: Virtual Conversational Agents for Effective Treatment Delivery in PTSD,” by Saeed Abdullah, assistant professor of IST; Linda Collins, distinguished professor of human development and family studies and statistics and director of The Methodology Center; and Steffany Fredman, assistant professor of human development and family studies and the Karl R. Fink and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families at Penn State
  •  “Towards Living Documents in Support of Intelligence Analysis,” by Ben Hanrahan, assistant professor of IST; John M. Carroll, distinguished professor of IST; and Prasenjit Mitra, professor and associate dean for research in the College of IST
  •  “Understanding Patterns of Analytical Reasoning with Big Data: Towards a Cognitive Foundation of Human-machine Cooperation in Visual Analytics,” by Guoray Cai, associate professor of IST, and Xiaolong "Luke" Zhang, associate professor of IST

The projects were selected based on their alignment with the college’s strategic research initiatives, their likelihood of producing successful outcomes, and their potential for future external funding.

The college also encouraged submissions that fostered collaboration across Penn State and with other institutions. This year’s selected projects including partnerships with the College of Health and Human Development, the College of Engineering, and three other universities.

“My research program has greatly benefited from the seed funding mechanism because it has allowed us to establish new research collaborations with faculty members of other colleges to jointly tackle high-risk and high-potential impact problems,” said James Wang, professor of IST and one of the seed grant awardees. “This year’s award will allow us to partner with the Department of Nutritional Sciences for the first time.”

In addition to the college’s internal program, IST provides matching funds when faculty are awarded seed funding from other Penn State institutes and initiatives.

“The College of IST is committed to supporting new, interdisciplinary research,” said Sears. “Seed funding is a vital resource, allowing our faculty to pursue new projects and develop new collaborations that will increase both the depth and breadth of the college’s research portfolio.”