School of Information Sciences

iSchool Colloquium Series (Past Lectures)


Thursday, July 7, 2016

1:00 p.m. - 2 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Sharon Hsiao, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

"Closing the Loop on Personalized Programming Learning in Blended Instruction Classrooms"

Abstract: This talk will address and showcase a series of education technologies that support programming learning. My team (CSI: Computing Systems & Informatics) works on designing technology to support personalized learning in bridging the gap between cyber and physical computing classes. We have been collecting and integrating formal and informal learning data to capture realistic programming learning activities, such as infomation seeking, problem solving, note taking, formal assessments, etc.

Our goal is to provide practical soluations to assist the majority of classes, which are blended instruction classes (face-to-face instruction in the classrooms supported by online tools--i.e. ITS, self-assessment quizzes, course management systems, etc. In this talk, I'll specifically focus on presenting the most recent design and findings of Programming Grading Assistant (PGA) & Web-based Programming Grading Assistant (WPGA) that support grading paper-based exams and provides personalized feedback via visual analytics.


Friday, July 8, 2016

11:00 a.m. - Noon
IS Building, Room 501

Coffee and refreshments will be served in room 522 at 10:00 a.m.

Mai Abdelhakim, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, OSRAM Sylvania Research Center

"Towards Secure and Efficient Wireless Networks"

Abstract: Cyber-physical systems and Internet of things (IoT) are transforming some of our most critical infrastructures such as smart energy networks, intelligent transportation, advanced manufacturing, healthcare systems, and others. However, the interconnectivity and flexibility, which underlie the tremendous advantages of IoT-enabled systems, also make such systems vulnerable to various threats. This talk will focus on wireless sensor networks technology, which is a key component of a wide range of military and civilian applications and a vital element in cyber-physical systems. I will present a reliable distributed detection approach under Byzantine attacks, where some authenticated sensors are compromised to report fictitious information. The theoretical analysis reveals that the accuracy of the decision making process improves as the nodes’ density increases even if the percentage of malicious sensors remains fixed. This insight could be directly incorporated in information processing for reliable target detection in critical applications, such as reconnaissance and surveillance. I will also present a unified framework for analyzing the architectures of wireless networks that encompasses quantitative metrics for detecting suspicious behavior, which enables reliable network design. Based on these principles, a mobile access coordinated wireless sensor network architecture is developed for robust and time-sensitive information exchange. Our results shed light on the trade-off between reliability and efficiency, which should be tailored in the design of network architectures, transmission protocols and information processing schemes in future networks.

Bio: Dr. Mai Abdelhakim is a postdoctoral research scientist at the OSRAM Sylvania Research Center, working on IoT technology, security, and applications. Before that, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University, where she worked on reliable and efficient communications in wireless networks. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University in 2014, and her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Cairo University. She joined SySDSoft Inc. (currently Intel Mobile Communications) in 2006 as an embedded software engineer. She has also worked as a teaching assistant at the German University in Cairo, and in the engineering research department at the Egyptian National Center for Radiation Research and Technology. Dr. Abdelhakim serves as a symposium chair for the International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communication (ICNC’17). She has also served as a technical program committee (TPC) member for international conferences, and as a reviewer for several international journals and conferences. Her research interests include: wireless communication, network security, and signal processing.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Xiaozhong Liu

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor Quiet Study Room

Bambang Parmanto, Professor of Health Information Management, University of Pittsburgh

"Informatics in Health and Rehabilitation"

Abstract: Instead of presenting an in-depth single-study research, I will be providing an overview of the research portfolio in my lab and the Rehab Engineering Research Center on ICT Access that I lead. The goal is to explore potential collaborations with faculty and students at the School of Information Sciences that can be carried out immediately and potential future collaborative research. One model for collaboration that I envision is that I will be providing a context (breadth) where you can apply your specific area of research in computing or informatics (depth). The themes of my research have been on how to use connectivity and computation (such as mobile devices) to develop a new clinical intervention (as a sole or as adjuvant intervention), and on how to mitigate accessibility issues of the technologies for individuals with a range of impairments (both permanent and situational). Technology-based clinical interventions are more scalable to reach wider population, deliver better health outcomes while reducing cost, and potentially improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. I will touch briefly on recurring topics in these projects that are relevant to informatics and potential intersection for collaboration, including: connected health, human factors and usability, social computing (e.g. gamification), webometrics, privacy & security, large data set, and potential for context-based adaptive intervention using machine learning.

Bambang Parmanto is Professor of Health Information Management at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Director of Rehab Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Access and Principal Investigator of a large project on mobile health (mHealth) system for self-management for individuals with chronic and complex conditions. He leads the Health and Rehabilitation Informatics (HARI) research group at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interest has been in developing technologies and in using connected health and computing (such as mobile and wearable technologies) to deliver adaptive and personalized interventions for individuals with chron.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Xiaozhong Liu3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor Quiet Study Room

Vladimir Zadorozhny, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

"Information Fusion at Large and at Scale"

Abstract: Information fusion deals with reconstructing objects from multiple, possibly incomplete and inconsistent observations. The task of scalable information fusion is critical for interdisciplinary research where a comprehensive picture of the subject requires large amounts of data from disparate data sources. Despite its increasing availability, making sense of such data is not trivial. In this talk I will elaborate on challenges in developing an infrastructure that facilitates scalable information integration and fusion. I will introduce an efficient framework that enables systematic information fusion in the context of remotely related application domains and disciplines. In particular, I will consider how concepts of information fusion and crowdsourcing complement each other and accelerate novel research directions in scalable information sensemaking. I will explore each of those concepts and their synergy under prominent scenarios of large-scale historical data integration and situation assessment in multi-robot search and rescue.

Dr. Zadorozhny is an Associate Professor of Information Science and Technology in the School of Information Sciences at Pitt. His research interests include Networked information systems, complex adaptive systems, heterogeneous data fusion, wireless and sensor data management, query optimization in distributed environments, scalable architectures for wide-area environments with heterogeneous information servers.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Xiaozhong Liu10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor

Xiaozhong Liu, Assistant Professor of Information Science, Indiana University Bloomington

"Scientific Information Understanding"

Abstract: STEM publications, for various reasons, generally do not place a premium on writing for readability, and young scholars/students struggle to understand the scholarly literature available to them. Unfortunately, few efforts have been made to help graduate students and other junior scholars understand and consume the essence of those scientific readings. This talk is based on the hypothesis and pilot-evidence that accessing multi-modal Open Educational Resources (OER) about a scholarly publication, including presentation videos, slides, tutorial, algorithm source code, or Wikipedia pages, in a collaborative framework will significantly enhance a student’s ability to understand the paper itself. To achieve this goal, I propose a novel learning/reading environment, OER-based Collaborative PDF Reader (OCPR), that incorporates innovative text plus heterogeneous graph mining algorithms that can: 1) auto-characterize a student’s emerging information need while he/she reading a paper; 2) personalize or communitize students’ information needs based on the computational user profiles, and 3) enable students to readily access OERs based on their information need and implicit/explicit feedback. Based on the information need and various kinds of user feedback, the proposed algorithms will generate and select novel ranking features on the heterogeneous graph at a low cost for semi-supervised random walk and OER recommendation. Experiment shows that the proposed system can effectively help graduate students and scholars better understand the complex publications in both cold start and context-rich environments.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor Theatre

Martijn de Jongh, Infrastructure Data Scientist, Facebook

"Managing Large-Scale Cloud Infrastructure with Data Science and Analytics"

Abstract: Facebook has built a large scale cloud infrastructure to serve its users worldwide. Its size requires a considerable and continuous data science and analytics effort to monitor its performance and to plan for the future. I discuss our motivation, the role of data science and analytics in our efforts and present a few examples.

Bio: Martijn de Jongh earned his PhD at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. He was a member of Marek Druzdzel’s Decision Systems Laboratory, where he was actively involved in the development of the GeNIe and SMILE software created by this lab. His research interests include Bayesian networks and probabilistic graphical models in general, while his main focus is on learning models from data. He is also interested in applying these models to real world problems. His dissertation project explored parallel inference and learning using the MapReduce framework using Hadoop. He joined Facebook’s infrastructure department in May 2014 as a data scientist. His responsibilities include helping Facebook’s engineers speed up the mobile apps and analyzing and modeling global internet infrastructure for, an effort led by Facebook to connect the world to the internet.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor

Greg Leazer, Associate Professor, Department of Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles

"iSchools, Legitimacy, and the Contribution of Archival Studies"

Abstract: To what degree are iSchools fitting and gaining acceptance into their larger university environments? Their legitimacy rests upon the degree of acceptance within academia. Over time, isomorphic pressures such as coercion and normativity will lead iSchools to more resemble similar units on campus. The iSchools face many challenges, in part to a relative immaturity of research conducted in the field including pretensions of scientific status and a loss of identity through an overly interdisciplinary program of research. The quest for legitimacy will depend on the ability of iSchool participants to articulate what is unique about their field. The subfield of archival studies is examined in light of the possibility of serving, in part, as a body of research originating within iSchools. Archival studies is commended for its development of sui generis conceptual apparatus, a commitment to the full cultural record, expanding notions of use, and its own contributions to interdisciplinarity.

Bio: Professor Leazer is an associate professor and recently served for six years as the chair of the UCLA Department of Information Studies. He conducts research on the organization of information. He is also interested in the role of libraries in public education, and addressing the public school library crisis in California. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award on Science and Engineering from the National Science Foundation and awarded by President Bill Clinton.


Friday, September 18, 2015

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor
Light refreshments will be served prior to the colloquium

Zachary Lemnios, Vice President, Research Strategy and Worldwide Operations, IBM

IBM’s Research Agenda: Emerging Technologies and Future Industry Needs

Abstract: Zachary Lemnios will join us to discuss IBM's strategic agenda including a vision of emerging technology needs, current and future research agendas, investments, challenges, and strategic initiatives. In addition, he will share the critical work that is currently being conducted with IBM Watson and how Watson is working side-by-side with industry leaders to help them discover smarter ways to use their analytics to access knowledge and insights. Watson is helping to change the way we work across multiple industries and helping us get closer to answering some of the world’s most challenging problems.

Bio: Zachary Lemnios is responsible for the formation and execution of the IBM Research strategy and operations across IBM's twelve global laboratories and network of collaboratories. Working across IBM, Lemnios drives the long-term research agenda including the execution of the major IBM research investments, grand challenges, big bets and strategic initiatives. In addition, Lemnios leads the Global Technology Outlook, the strategic assessment and recommendations used by IBM's CEO and Senior Vice Presidents annually to identify and leverage technology disruptions to shape the corporation’s strategic vectors.

Prior to joining IBM, Lemnios was the Chief Technology Officer of MIT Lincoln Laboratory and served three terms in high level civilian leadership in the Department of Defense. Lemnios received his BSEE from the University of Michigan and his MSEE from Washington University in St. Louis. He has served on numerous national security, industry, and academic committees. He has authored over 40 papers, holds four patents in advanced GaAs device and MMIC technology, and is a Fellow of the IEEE. Lemnios received special recognition from the Australian Government Department of Defence and was awarded Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service and the Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

1:30 p.m., Refreshments
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 522

Jaakko Peltonen, Associate Professor of Statistics, School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland

"An Information Retrieval Approach to Visualization of High-Dimensional Data"

Abstract: Nonlinear dimensionality reduction methods are often used to visualize high-dimensional data, but many proposed methods have been designed for other related tasks such as manifold learning. It has been difficult to assess the quality of visualizations since the task has not been well-defined. We give a rigorous definition for a specific visualization task resulting in quantifiable goodness measures and new visualization methods. The task is information retrieval given the visualization: to find similar data based on the similarities shown on the display. The fundamental trade off between precision and recall of information retrieval can then be quantified in visualizations as well. The resulting family of visualization methods, called NeRV (Neighbor Retrieval Visualizer), performs very well in unsupervised visualization tasks and has been extended in many ways to supervised visualization, parametric visualization, fast visualization scalable to big data, and interactive visualization, and has been incorporated as part of exploratory information seeking systems.

Bio: Jaakko Peltonen is an associate professor of statistics (data analysis) at the School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. He is also currently an academy research fellow at Aalto University, Finland, where he is a PI of the Probabilistic Machine Learning research group. He is an associate editor of Neural Processing Letters and an editorial board member of Heliyon. He has served in organizing committees of seven international conferences, one international summer school, in program committees of 28 international conferences/workshops, and has performed referee duties for numerous international journals and conferences. He has 74 publications and has 730 citations so far (h-index 14). He is an expert in statistical machine learning methods for exploratory data analysis, visualization of data, and learning from multiple sources.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Lecture
4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Refreshments
IS Building, 3rd floor

Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

"What Do Future Information Professionals Need to Learn?"

Abstract: As a practicing computer scientist, when I applied to Library School in the mid 80's, they were a bit shocked, but I explained that these areas were about to merge, given the coming Internet. That merge has now happened, but most Universities do not yet educate students with this in mind. 

The Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library, has 20 petabytes of data in thousands of collections, programmer interfaces, and millions of users every day. We are starting to get digital humanitarians and researchers coming expecting to be able to use these collections.   

Unfortunately, the tools, our staff, and our users are struggling to keep up. We would like to hire your graduates, we would like to serve your graduates as researchers. There are things a University can do to help.

Towards that goal, I would like to outline some of challenges/opportunities we see on the interface of big data and people: rights and privacy issues, tool building, programming for data analysis.

Bio: Brewster Kahle is a passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur who has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet's first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 20 petabytes of data - the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 400 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.


Friday, April 17, 2015

11:00 a.m., Coffee reception
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Lecture
IS Building, 3rd floor

Lynette Kvasny, Associate Professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University

Applying a Chaos Theory Approach to Understanding the Career Pathways of African American Men in Information Technology

Abstract: Reports by the College Board, the National Science Foundation, and the National Center for Educational Statistics use statistical methods to analyze national datasets, and have highlighted the educational and career challenges facing young African American men. The grim discourse that flows from this body of work may unwittingly contribute to America’s low expectations for African American men and tells us little about those men who do succeed. We only know that they managed to avoid failure.

To gain insights into the experiences of successful African American male undergraduates pursuing IT careers, our research team completed over 80 interviews across 6 universities. Participants were encouraged to explain their career pathways by reflecting on many aspects of their lives, such as their familial circumstances, their childhood, their hobbies, their K-12 educational experiences, and key incidents as college students, and on broader environmental factors, such as African American male identity and political issues.

This research is framed by Bright and Pryor’s Chaos Theory of Careers, which posits that individual career choice exists within an interactive system of four primary influences (chance, complexity, change, constructiveness) that flow from immediate family and friends, the local community, and the broader geopolitical environment.

Salient influences for African American males include “new black” and “hustler” ideologies, serendipitous influences of educators, religiosity, success as a communal achievement, and an ethos of “failure is not an option”. These findings have implications for framing research and interventions that take a systematic approach to addressing the under-representation of African American men.

Bio: Dr. Lynette Kvasny is an Associate Professor and an Undergraduate Academic Program Coordinator in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her PhD in Computer Information Systems from the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Her research examines how and why historically underserved groups appropriate information and communication technologies. Kvasny is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award and the Penn State Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching. She currently serves on the Board of Visitors and the Standing Diversity Committee at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.


Friday, April 10, 2015

1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Dr. Fei Wang, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut

"Generating Effective Features from Electronic Health Records"

Abstract: Data-Driven Healthcare (DDH) has aroused considerable interest from various research fields in recent years. Patient Electronic Health Records (EHR) are one of the major carriers for conducting DDH research. There are many challenges when working directly with EHR, such as sparsity, high-dimensionality, and temporality. In this talk, I will introduce my recent work on generating effective features for EHR including: 1) a grouping scheme for detecting useful feature groups; 2) a graph based approach for detecting aggregated temporal feature patterns; 3) a deep learning strategy for generating effective medical concepts. I will show various applications of these techniques including early prediction of the onset risk of chronic diseases and disease progression modeling.

Bio: Fei Wang is currently an associate professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut. He is also an affiliated faculty at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Before his current position, he worked at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center for 5 years. His major research interest is data analytics and its applications in biomedical informatics. He regularly publishes papers at top data mining conferences like KDD, ICDM and SDM, as well as medical informatics conferences like AMIA. His papers have received nearly 2,500 citations. He won best research paper nomination for ICDM 2010, and Marco Romani Best paper nomination in AMIA TBI 2014.


Friday, April 10, 2015

2:00 p.m., Reception
2:30 p.m., Lecture
IS Building, Room 404

Sharad Mehrotra, Professor, School of Information and Computer Science at University of California - Irvine & Founding Director at CERT

Risk Aware Approach to Data Confidentiality in Cloud Computing

Abstract: This talk focuses on the issue of “loss of control” that results when users outsource data and computation to the clouds. While loss of control has multiple manifestations, we focus on the data privacy and confidentiality implications when cloud providers are untrusted. Instead of following the well-studied (but still unsolved) path of encrypting data when outsourcing & computing on the encrypted domain, the talk advocates a risk-based approach  to partitioning computation over hybrid clouds that provides an abstraction to address secure cloud data processing in a variety of system and application contexts. The talk will focus on two systems (a) SEMROD -- a secure map reduce platform for secure computing in hybrid clouds, and (b) Cloud Protect -- a middleware to selectively encrypt data stored in applications over the cloud based on user's security policies and workload.

Bio: Sharad Mehrotra is a Professor in the School of Information and Computer Science at University of California, Irvine and founding Director of the Center for Emergency Response Technologies (CERT) at UCI. He has served as the Director and PI of the RESCUE project (Responding to Crisis and Unexpected Events) funded by NSF through its prestigious large ITR program. He is the recipient of Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award in 2005. Prior to joining UCI, he was a member of the faculty at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in the Department of Computer Science where he was the recipient of the C. W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Mehrotra's research expertise is in data management and distributed systems areas. Mehrotra is the recipient of three test of time awards: ACM SIGMOD test of time award in 2012 for the paper entitled "Executing SQL over Encrypted Data in the Database-Service-Provider Model", the DASFAA 10 year best paper award of time award in 2013 for the paper entitled "Efficient Record Linkage in Large Data Sets", and the DASFAA 10 year best paper award in 2014 for the paper entitled "Efficient Execution of Aggregation Queries over Encrypted Databases". In addition, Mehrotra is a recipient of numerous best paper and awards including  SIGMOD Best Paper award in 2001 for a paper entitled "Locally Adaptive Dimensionality Reduction for Indexing Large Time Series Databases", best paper award in DASFAA 2004 for the paper entitled "Efficient Execution of Aggregation Queries over Encrypted Databases", and best paper award in ACM International conference in Multimedia Retrieval, 2013 for the paper entitled "A unifying framework for context-assisted face clustering".


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2:00 p.m., Coffee and cookies
2:30 p.m., Lecture
3:30 p.m., Informal meet & greet with the speaker
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student space

Glenn Ricart, Founder and CTO of US Ignite

Affordances of Network Virtualization 

Abstract: Some end-user applications are greatly simplified by execution on virtualized networks that have been enhanced or idealized in  ways which specifically support the application.  This talk discusses the affordances provided to end-user applications running on virtual networks which variously: (a) manage latency, (b) manage jitter, (c) provide ultra-reliable packet delivery, (d) optimize branch points for multicast packet duplication, (e) isolate sensitive information flows, and/or (f) bundle network billing with application use.  Examples will be provided from the realm of US Ignite applications.

Bio: Glenn Ricart, currently the Founder and CTO of US Ignite, has been a leading innovator in computer networking and related fields for forty years. Glenn is an Internet pioneer who implemented the first Inter-net interconnection point (the FIX in College Park, Maryland) and was recognized for this achievement by being inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in August 2013. In one of his previous roles where he was academic CIO at the University of Maryland, his campus implemented the first institution-wide TCP/IP (Internet) network in 1983 using low-cost PDP-11 routers (“Fuzballs”) with software devised at the University of Maryland. Glenn was principal investigator of SURAnet, the first regional TCP/IP (Internet) network of academic and commercial institutions.

Glenn has also held other senior management positions including Executive Vice President and CTO for Novell in the 1990s, Managing Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and CEO and President of National LambdaRail. Dr. Ricart is also the founder or co-founder of five startups including US Ignite, and CenterBeam, which was sold to Earthlink in 2013 after 14 years of independent operation.

Glenn’s formal education includes degrees from Case Institute of Technology and Case Western Reserve University, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science is from the University of Maryland, College Park. His inventions have resulted in more than a dozen patents. Dr. Ricart has served on the boards of three public companies, CACI, the SCO Organization, and First USA Financial Services, in addition to numerous non-profits.


Friday, January 9, 2015

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
1:30 p.m., Coffee & meet the speaker
IS Building, Room 501

Jack Mostow, Director, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

How Can We Learn from a Reading Tutor that Listens?

Abstract: Project LISTEN’s Reading Tutor listens to children read aloud, and helps them learn to read. It displays text on a computer screen, uses automatic speech recognition to help analyze a child’s oral reading, and responds with spoken and graphical assistance modeled after expert reading teachers but adapted to the limitations and affordances of the technology. The Reading Tutor logs its interactions in detail to a database that we mine in order to assess students’ performance, model their learning, and harvest within-subject experiments embedded in the Reading Tutor to compare alternative tutorial actions. This talk will illustrate a few of the Reading Tutor’s tutorial interactions, student models, and experiments.

Bio: Jack Mostow is a Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Robotics, Machine Learning, Language Technologies, and Human-Computer Interaction, and serves on the Steering Committee for CMU's doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Educational Research (  In 1992 he founded Project LISTEN ( to develop an automated Reading Tutor that listens to children read aloud.  Project LISTEN won the Outstanding Paper Award at the Twelfth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence in August 1994, a United States patent in 1998, inclusion in the National Science Foundation's "Nifty Fifty" research projects in 2000, and the Allen Newell Medal of Research Excellence in 2003.

After earning his A.B. cum laude in Applied Mathematics at Harvard and his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Mostow held faculty positions at Stanford, University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, and Rutgers.  He has served as an Editor of Machine Learning Journal and of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, as Program Co-chair of the 1998 National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and as Conference Chair of the 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring System and the 2013 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.  He has given invited talks at such diverse venues as the Association for Computational Linguistics, the National Science Foundation Workshop on Optimal Teaching, and the International Symposium on Automated Detection of Errors in Pronunciation Training.  He is a Voting Member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, at whose annual meetings he regularly presents his research.  In 2010 he was elected President of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society.



Friday, December 5, 2014


12:30 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student space

Zach Pardos, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley

Predictive Models of Student Learning in K-16 

Abstract: The volume and granularity of data produced by current educational technologies in K-16 presents an exciting opportunity to gain insights into student knowledge and how it is acquired. In this talk I will show how probabilistic graphical models of student learning, with roots in cognitive theory, have served as an effective platform to study learning phenomenon in digital learning environments. Probabilistic graphical models allow for a blend of machine learning and domain expertise and are well suited to capture the temporal aspects of student data. The models were used to improve the accuracy of student knowledge assessment and performance prediction by taking into account individual inferred prior knowledge and learning attributes of the student as well as attributes of the content. This approach proved effective in the 2010 KDD Cup competition on educational data mining when pitted against an ensemble of state-of-the-art machine learning approaches. I will also show how these same models have been posed to measure the pedagogical efficacy of problem orderings, individual resources in a MOOC, and remediation decisions made by the learning environment. The work presented was conducted using data from the Cognitive Tutors for Algebra and Geometry, the ASSISTments Platform, and recently,  Massive OpenOnline Courses (MOOC) on the edX platform. Implications for adaptivity, affective state integration, and privacy in the big data age will be discussed.

Bio: Zach Pardos is an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley in a joint position between the School of Information and Graduate School of Education. His focal areas of study are educational data mining and learning analytics concentrating on measurement of learning in digital environments. He earned his PhD in Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Tutor Research Group in 2012. Funded by a National Science Foundation Fellowship (GK-12) he spent extensive time on the front lines of K-12 education working with teachers and students to integrate educational technology into the curriculum as a formative assessment tool. He was program co-chair of the 2014 conference on Educational Data Mining, on the organizing committee for the 2014 Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference, and serves on the executive committee for the Artificial Intelligence in Education Society. He has received numerous academic awards and honors for extensions of his thesis work on “Predictive Models of Learning” including a top prize applying his educational analytics in the 2010 KDD Cup, an international big data competition on predicting student performance within an intelligent tutoring system. Pardos comes to UC Berkeley after a post-doc at MIT studying Massive Open Online Courses. He is on the Vice Provost’s committee for education data distribution and privacy policy at UC Berkeley and directs the Computational Approaches to Human Learning (CAHL) research lab.


Friday, November 7, 2014


2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student space

Jeremy Birnholtz, Associate Professor, Departments of Communication Studies and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Northwestern University

Butler Lies: Media, Deception and Availability Management in Everyday Life

New communication media such as email, instant messaging (IM) and SMS text messaging mean that we can interact more frequently with more people than ever before. While this has clear benefits, many people also report feeling overloaded and regularly take active steps to manage their availability for interaction with others, such as delaying response to messages, limiting attention to all incoming communications or exiting conversations prematurely. Without explanation, however, these tactics may lead to perceptions of rudeness or disinterest in a relationship. In this talk I will present results from a series of studies exploring how people use instant messaging, SMS text messaging and Blackberry Messenger to manage their availability. I will show that people use media strategically -- sometimes deceptively -- to explain and coordinate their behavior; drawing on technical features of media, the social norms of media usage, and the willingness of others to accept deception in some cases.

Bio: Jeremy Birnholtz is an associate professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University, as well as the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. His research aims to improve the usefulness and usability of communication and collaboration tools, via a focus on understanding and exploiting mechanisms of human attention. Jeremy’s work has been published in the ACM CHI, CSCW and Group Proceedings, as well as in Organization Science, HCI, JASIST, JCMC, and Computers in Human Behavior. His current research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Google, Facebook and the US Department of Agriculture.


Monday, April 7, 2014


11:00 a.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student space

Douglas C. Sicker, PhD, DBC Endowed Professor, Department of Computer Science; Director, Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program
University of Colorado at Boulder

Spectrum Policy Reform: Toward smarter, wider-band radios and dense network infrastructure

In this talk, I will discuss the technical and policy reforms that are changing the allocation, assignment and use of radio spectrum in the US. I'll begin by reviewing the last 15 years of radio policy reform and the impact this has had on the technical and business landscape. I'll then discuss a variety of spectrum topics currently under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Commerce. I'll then close by presenting some of the research questions that arise given these policy and technology changes.

Bio: Dr. Douglas C. Sicker has held various positions in academia, industry and government. Presently, Doug is the DBC Endowed Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a joint appointment in (and Director of) the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. Prior to this, Doug was the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Advisor for Spectrum at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Doug also served as the Chief Technology Officer of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and prior to this he served as a senior advisor on the FCC National Broadband Plan. Previously he was Director of Global Architecture at Level 3 Communications, Inc. In the late 1990's Doug served as Chief of the Network Technology Division at the FCC. He has also held faculty and industry positions in the field of medical sciences.  His research and teaching interests include wireless systems, network security and network policy.  Doug received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.


Friday, March 28, 2014


1:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Aisling Kelliher, Associate Professor, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Do Androids Dream of Typing Monkeys?

Creating, sharing and discussing stories are some of the fundamental ways by which we make sense of our experiences in the world. This essentially human practice is increasingly mediated, supported, and constrained by computational processes running on networked machines and systems. For some, this cyber intervention signals the death knell of narrative, tolling in a piecemeal world of meaningless oversharing, voyeurism, and snark. Delightful as that may sound, there are of course other ways to conceptualize computational programs instead as creative partners, cultural sensemakers, and critical interpreters of the storytelling experience. In this talk, I will examine some of the key features of computational storytelling as it relates to a diversity of research and practice areas including big data, surveillance, future casting and social curation. I will also introduce two research projects, the first exploring storytelling with lifelog datasets, and the second examining digital curation strategies for online platforms.

Bio: Aisling Kelliher is an associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, where she also holds an adjunct appointment in the Human Computer Interaction Institute. She co-directs the Masters in Tangible Interaction program at CMU and leads transdisciplinary research in the newly established Visible Process Lab.

Dr. Kelliher creates and studies interactive media systems for enhancing reflection, learning and communication. Her work is grounded within the fields of human-computer-interaction, multimedia, and interaction design, and is motivated by a desire to carefully integrate computational processes into our everyday mediated experiences. She is a proponent of speculative design and relishes introducing humor and playfulness in her teaching and practice. Findings from her research have been published in high-impact journals and conferences including ACM MM, TOMCCAP, SIGCHI, ISEA, CIKM, ICWSM and WWW, and exhibited at leading national venues including SIGGRAPH, the ASU Art Museum and the DeCordova Museum. Her research is supported by grants from Intel, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education.

Aisling received a PhD in Media, Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab. She also holds a MSc in Multimedia Systems from Trinity College, Dublin. Additional information can be found at her website:


Friday, February 21, 2014


11:00 a.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Brian Uzzi, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Atypical Combinations and Scientific Impact

The claim that science is spurred on when atypical ideas are united is often purported but rarely tested. Indeed, much science intentionally builds in convention.  From this viewpoint, the relationship between atypical and conventional knowledge is critical but understudied.  Here, we analyzed all 17.9 million web of science research papers in the web of science, characterizing each paper’s conventional and novel combinations of prior work.  We find that the premium put on novelty is at odds with the reality that most scientific work draws on familiar mixtures of knowledge.  The highest impact papers interject novelty into otherwise unusually conventional combinations of prior work and are twice as likely to top the citation distribution.  Finally, teams are more likely than solo scientists to interject novel combinations, suggesting that the exceptionalism of teams is an ability to incorporate novelty.  

Brian Uzzi is the Richard L. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Leadership at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He also co-directs NICO, the Northwestern University Institute on Complex Systems, is the faculty director of the Kellogg Collaboration and Complexity initiative (KACI), and holds professorships in Sociology and the McCormick School of Engineering.  He has lectured and advised companies and governments in more than 25 countries and been on the faculties of INSEAD, University of Chicago, and Harvard University. In 2007-2008, he was on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley where he was the Warren E. and Carol Spieker Professor of Leadership.  Additional information on Professor Uzzi may be found here:



Friday, December 6, 2013

2:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

M. Bernardine Dias, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Enhancing Education and Navigation for Visually Impaired People through Technology

Since 2004 the TechBridgeWorld research group has been exploring different avenues through which computing technology can be made more relevant and accessible to underserved communities around the world. In this talk we will share some of the lessons we have learned and the opportunities we have identified in the area of technology that enhances education and navigation for visually impaired people. We will primarily focus on our Braille Writing Tutor project and our NavPal project.  The Braille Writing Tutor project explores opportunities for computer technology to enhance the process of learning to write braille with a slate and stylus; the common methodology in the developing world.  We discuss our strategies to make this technology both accessible and relevant to blind students beginning to learn to write braille with a slate and stylus.  Outcomes of this project have been field tested in partnership with visually impaired communities in the USA, India, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zambia. The NavPal project explores opportunities for computer technology to enhance the independence and safety for visually impaired adults as they navigate urban environments in the USA. We discuss how computing can play a role in assisting blind travelers with pre-planning trips, familiarizing themselves with environments, and providing dynamic guidance through a variety of transit modes. We will also briefly summarize our related ongoing work and plans for future work with assistive robots for blind travelers.

M. Bernardine Dias is an Associate Research Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, primarily affiliated with the Field Robotics Center. Her research focuses on culturally appropriate computing technology that is accessible and relevant to underserved communities.  Towards this end she founded and directs the TechBridgeWorld research group to enable technology research in partnership with underserved communities throughout the globe. Primarily, TechBridgeWorld focuses on assistive technology for visually impaired people, and educational technology for low-literacy communities.  Dias earned her B.A. from Hamilton College, Clinton NY, with a dual concentration in Physics and Computer Science and a minor in Women’s Studies in 1998, followed by a M.S. (2000) and Ph.D. (2004) in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. As a result of her dissertation work in market-based coordination of robot teams, Dias also continues to be a recognized researcher in autonomous team coordination. In addition to her research activities, Dias also actively encourages women in science and technology, and is a founding member of the women@SCS group at Carnegie Mellon University.


Friday, November 8, 2013

2:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Dr. David Ribes, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

The Kernel of a Research Infrastructure

Infrastructure makes it easier, faster or possible for investigators to study new objects of research. It does so by making available stable resources and services such as data, collaboration tools, sites of material sample collection, or calibrated instruments. This talk will explore the concept of the kernel of a research infrastructure as a new unit of analysis for the investigation of the enabling capacities of infrastructure. The kernel is the core resources and services an infrastructure makes available (what I call the cache), as well as the work, techniques and technologies that go into sustaining that availability (what I call addressing). By inspecting and comparing the kernel of two long-term scientific organizations, this paper demonstrates how focusing on the kernel can help explain key qualities of research infrastructure such as flexibility and persistence in the face of dramatic changes to the objects, methods and practice of research.

David Ribes is assistant professor in the Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) program at Georgetown University. He is a sociologist of science who focuses on the development and maintenance of research infrastructure (i.e., networked information technologies for the support of interdisciplinary science); its relation to long-term changes in the conduct of science; and epistemic transformations in objects of research.  David has a degree in sociology, but the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) is his first affiliation. His methods are ethnographic, archival and comparative. Please see for more.


Monday, October 21, 2013

2:00 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student collaboration center

Dr. Mary Anne Kennan, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

Building Community Knowledge with Environmental Voluntary Groups

This presentation reports a recent study which investigated what data were collected by members of an environmental voluntary group (EVG) and how these data were collected, stored, managed and shared. Environmental and biological data sourced from volunteers and voluntary groups can make an invaluable contribution to formal science. An aim of the research was to understand how data management and approaches to data sharing could be improved in order to enhance the contributions of EVG members to research and science while also continuing to meet individual and group needs. Interviews were conducted with members of the Australian Plants Society Victoria (ASPV) using a broadly ethnographic approach. Findings indicate that APSV members have a strong interest in conservation biodiversity, and in increasing their own, and society’s knowledge and understanding, passions often shared with professional scientists. Yet their data are often poorly managed, creating significant impediments to further use and sharing. The presentation explores these issues and outlines work in progress where options for improvement are explored, including ways to empower APSV members with skills and technology to contribute to emerging data repositories, so that their valuable data may be preserved and accessible beyond their immediate co-members.

Mary Anne Kennan is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, Australia, where she teaches subjects on the digital environment, research data management and research methods. CSU is a regional multi-campus university, and the third Australian university to join the iSchools Organization. Mary Anne’s research interests are varied with projects focusing on scholarly communication, institutional repositories, open access, and research data management; the management and sharing of volunteer-collected data; and how information can play a part in the social inclusion of refugees. Her previous experience includes 25 years working in libraries and the information world, including serving as Director of the Frank Lowy Library at the Australian Graduate School of Management. She has also taught at the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney. She is co-editor (with Dr Gaby Haddow of Curtin University) of Australian Academic and Research Libraries and serves on the editorial boards of Webology and the International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation.


Friday, October 18, 2013

12:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Dr. Aristides A.N. Patrinos, Deputy Director for Research, Center for Urban Science + Progress (CUSP) at New York University (NYU)

The Promise of Urban Science

The world is becoming more urbanized and cities must become more efficient and sustainable.  The emergence of “big data” methods holds promise in terms of accomplishing those goals.  New York University has created the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) to exploit those new methods and address many of the challenges that New York City faces today and in the future.

Dr. Aristides A. N. Patrinos joined CUSP from Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) where he served as President and Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs. SGI is a company applying the molecular biology tools of synthetic DNA to revolutionize several industries including vaccines, food, and renewable fuels and chemicals. Before SGI, Dr. Patrinos worked at the US Department of Energy (DOE) in several roles, most notably, overseeing biological and environmental research in the DOE Office of Science. His accomplishments include the launch and management of DOE’s portion of the US Global Change Research Program and his contributions to the international effort known as the Human Genome Project (HGP). Under his leadership DOE contributed a significant part of the first complete sequence of the human genome. Dr. Patrinos also created the DOE Joint Genome Institute and launched the Genomes to Life program.

Prior to DOE, he carried out research projects in environmental science and in engineering at both Brookhaven and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester after receiving his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Astronautical Sciences from Northwestern University. He received his degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 1970. A member and fellow of five professional societies, he has served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences and is the recipient of three Presidential Rank Awards and two Secretary of Energy Gold Medals.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

1:30 p.m.
IS Building, 3rd floor iSchool student collaboration center

Dr. Liz Lyon, Associate Director Digital Curation Centre & Director UKOLN Informatics, University of Bath UK

Roadmaps, Roles and Re-engineering: Developing Data Informatics Capability in LIS

In this talk, Dr. Lyon will review recent global policy drivers towards open data and will examine how institutions and libraries are responding to the call for action. She will draw primarily on exemplars from the UK environment and in particular, from her experience at the University of Bath and the UK Digital Curation Centre.  The talk will encompass issues associated with ensuring the sustainability of innovative research data management (RDM) services. She will also describe selected RDM services in more depth and will consider different approaches, tools and training methodologies emerging in this new data informatics landscape.  Finally, Liz will explore a number of future scenarios for libraries, librarians and iSchools, which present some exciting opportunities and challenges to the LIS community.

Dr. Liz Lyon is the Associate Director of the UK Digital Curation Centre and the Director of UKOLN at the University of Bath UK, where she leads work to promote synergies between digital libraries and open science environments. She is also author of a number of direction-setting Reports including Open Science at Web-Scale: Optimising Participation and Predictive Potential (2009), Scaling Up (2008) and Dealing with Data (2007). These reports have been informed by a series of pioneering research data management projects: eBank UK, eCrystals Federation and Infrastructure for Integration in Structural Sciences (I2S2), all of which have explored links between research data, scholarly communications and learning in the chemical crystallography domain. The latest study, I2S2 is investigating data integration and interoperability issues between large remote facilities such as the Diamond synchrotron, and the local laboratory bench. Liz serves on a number of strategic boards including representation for the UK Economic and Social Science Research Council and the US National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Cyber Infrastructure. Although Dr Lyon has previously worked in various University libraries in the UK, her background was originally in Biological Sciences and she has a doctorate in cellular biochemistry.


Monday, April 8, 2013

10:30 a.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Robert J. Glushko, Adjunct Full Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley

The Discipline of Organizing

The "Information Schools" differ greatly in the problem domains they emphasize, the degrees they offer, the courses they teach, and the types of jobs found by graduates. But despite the obvious differences among them, we believe there is an intellectual intersection among the ISchools in the study of “Organizing Systems” — intentionally arranged collections of resources and the interactions they support. All organizing systems share common activities: identifying resources to be organized; organizing resources by describing and classifying them; designing resource-based interactions; and maintaining resources and organization over time. This framework is being published as "The Discipline of Organizing" this month by MIT Press in printed and ebook formats. It presents design concepts and patterns that apply to libraries, museums, business information systems, sensor networks, personal organizing systems, and to every other type of intentionally arranged collections of resources.

Robert J. Glushko is an Adjunct Full Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the School of Information.  Before coming to Berkeley in 2002, he spent a decade in Silicon Valley, where he founded or co-founded four companies in the areas of electronic publishing and e-business. He previously worked in corporate R&D and consulting, mostly at Bell Laboratories.  He has a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of California, San Diego and an MS in Software Engineering from the Wang Institute.

A Welcome Coffee will precede this colloquium.


Friday, February 8, 2013

1:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Anne Gilliland, Professor in Information Studies and Moving Image Archival Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) 

When Archives Cross Cultures, Communities, Geographies and Technologies

This presentation will report on themes emerging from case studies conducted for the Metadata Archaeology Project that will be published in a new book, Telling Stories About Stories: Archives Crossing Cultures, Communities, Geographies and Technologies (Litwin Press).  The case studies were purposively selected in local and international archival settings to identify variables, community concerns, decision points, areas of contestation, and ideological framings that arise in community and transnational archival endeavors.   Each case study involves some digital component – whether it be curation of born-digital data, digitized records, digitization, digital recovery, digital repatriation, or deliberate media hybridity.  Each case also crosses at least one kind of boundary, be it community, cultural, institutional, or spatial. However, each case focuses in particular on issues of humanity, power inequities, ethics, rights and responsibilities that are bound up with these kinds of archives and archival activities. The goal of the research is to illustrate the complexity of the contemporary archival world as it becomes increasingly “glocal” and “community-oriented,” and to demonstrate that this complexity cannot simply be reduced to technological considerations.  It also seeks to provide accessible exemplars of that complexity, as well as of the narratives and kinds of discourse and the archival considerations that arise, and the ways in which these lead us to contemplate and potentially require the archival field nationally and globally to reframe long-standing archival ideas.

Bio: Anne Gilliland is a Professor in Information Studies and Moving Image Archival Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  She is the Director of the Center for Information as Evidence as well as the Director of the Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI), a national and international forum for archival education and research that is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and led by a multi-university consortium that includes the University of Pittsburgh.  She is a highly published author in the areas of design, evaluation and history of recordkeeping, cultural and community information systems; metadata creation and management; community-driven archiving; social justice and human rights issues as they relate to archives and records; research design and methods; and archival education and pedagogy. Her new book, Conceptualizing Twenty-first Century Archives will be published by the Society of American Archivists in Spring 2013.  Professor Gilliland is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.



Friday, December 7, 2012

12:00 p.m. – Lunch will be served
IS Building, Room 501

iSchool Panel on Big Data

A panel of iSchool faculty will discuss what Big Data means in our school:

Advancement of technology and growth of the digital world has resulted in exceptionally large and complex data sets. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals – just to name a few. Scientists in various disciplines are confronted by the challenges and the opportunities in big data. This panel brings opportunities and challenges imposed by big data to the fore, and debate about the following questions:

And of course, most importantly audience questions about Big Data!


Friday, November 9, 2012

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Brian Butler, Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies and Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland

The Dynamics of Open, Peer-to-Peer Learning Platforms: What Factors Influence Participation in the P2P University?

Open online learning platforms have recently emerged as a force that has the potential to change how we deliver education.  Open education resources are proliferating and institutions are beginning to invest significant time, effort, and money in massive open online courses (MOOCs). At the same time, efforts are underway to develop platforms that allow individuals to create, lead, and participate in their own courses. This bottom-up, peer-to-peer model of open education presents its own challenges. Central to these efforts is the need foster sustained learner and contributor involvement.  Like the more prominent, institutionally-based open learning environments, peer-to-peer platforms are heavily dependent on voluntary individual participation.  Moreover, because they use open content models, these platforms also rely on voluntary contributors as authors, teachers, and guides.  In this paper, we use log data from the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to explore factors related to active participation in a series of teacher-focused, professional development courses (the P2PU School of Education). We employ learning analytics techniques to theorize and empirically examine how features such as course page design and course organizer activity interact with new and returning participants’ behavior to foster increased participation in open learning groups.

Bio: Brian S. Butler is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies and Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.  His work focuses on the interplay between technology and organizing.  He has worked with online communities and social computing since the mid-1990’s.  His work, which has appeared in Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, Organization Science, Journal of Biomedical Informatics, and the Journal of Medical Internet Research, combines theories and methods from organizational theory and management to better understand how emerging technologies alter the way teams, communities, and organization function.

His studies of virtual organizations and social networking have been supported by NSF, NIH, and Microsoft.  Current projects include studies of policy formation and application in Wikipedia, technology use in local food systems, the design of open communities for education and learning, and models and metrics for systems of online groups. 


Friday, October 12, 2012

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 403

Pedro Ferreira, Assistant Research Professor, Heinz College, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Peer Influence in a very Large Social Network: The Diffusion of the iPhone Handset

In this paper, we analyze a large-scale comprehensive dataset from a major European Mobile Phone Provider (EURMO). This dataset allows us to study the diffusion of the iPhone 3G. We provide evidence of contagious adoption. We show that the propensity for iPhone 3G adoption increases with the number of individuals within the social network that have previously purchased the iPhone. We bound the impact of social influence to 14% of all iPhone 3G adoptions observed in EURMO. This result is obtained after controlling for social clustering, gender, previous adoption of mobile internet data plans and ownership of technologically advanced handsets as well as heterogeneity in the regions where subscribers move during the day and spend most of their evenings. This result shows that the effect of peer influence is not trivial and that targeted marketing campaigns to spread handset adoption over mobile networks might indeed be worth pursuing.

Bio: Pedro Ferreira is an Assistant Research Professor at the Heinz College and in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University (since 2009). His research interests focus on how people use technology and influence others to do so. These are inextricably linked to how firms behave and how public policies affect market structures. The contributions of his work span several related thrusts in information systems research such as the impact of broadband on education, the regulation of wholesale telecommunications markets and randomized experiments with telcos generating large scale datasets to study diffusion. Pedro holds a dual MSc in Telecommunications Policy and in Electrical and Computer Engineering from MIT (2002) and a PhD in Telecommunications Policy from CMU (2004). He served as a post-doctoral fellow at the iSchool UC Berkeley (2004-05) and a was member of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Governmental Agency for the Information Society (2005-09).  


Friday, April 20, 2012

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 403

Amy Bruckman, Associate Professor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

“Online Collaboration: Creative and Civic”

Peer production of content has led to surprising successes such as Wikipedia, YouTube, open-source software, and more. Yet we are still in the early days of understanding its potential and still learning how to deliberately engineer systems to make new things possible. Two types of online collaboration that are currently coming of age are creative and civic.  In this talk, I'll first discuss leadership in creative online collaboration.  How do groups of people work together to make creative products?  Collaborative modes include remix, benevolent dictatorship, and open collaboration.  How do these differ, and what constraints does each mode put on process and product?  Can a group of people who have never met work together to create a product which is initially only partially described?  What challenges do they encounter, and how can we help them overcome those challenges? Second, social media has controversial but potentially transformative potential for enhancing civic participation.  I'll explain how the site raises awareness of street harassment, and how this social movement has exploded to 40 cities worldwide in one year. Finally, I'll present new work in which Eric Gilbert and I are helping Public Broadcasting Atlanta to increase civic participation through our redesign of

Bio: Amy Bruckman is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on peer production of content online. She studies how to create a motivating and supportive context for creation and sharing, and learning through this process. Bruckman received her Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab's Epistemology and Learning group in 1997, her M.S.V.S. from the Media Lab's Interactive Cinema Group in 1991, and a B.A. in physics from Harvard University in 1987.  In 1999, she was named one of the 100 top young innovators in science and technology in the world (TR100) by Technology Review magazine. In 2002, she was awarded the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies.


Friday, March 30, 2012

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 403

Marti Hearst, Professor, School of Information, UC Berkeley

“Emerging Trends in Search User Interfaces”

Dr. Hearst will discuss the future of search user interfaces, based on her research for a 2009 book, Search User Interfaces, published by Cambridge University Press. This lecture will identify important trends in the use of information technology and suggest how these may affect search going forward. Most particularly, Hearst will address a notable trend towards more "natural" user interfaces, a movement in the direction of social rather than solo usage of information technology, and an increasingly important role for video and audio, all blended with large knowledge bases. These trends are, or will be, interwoven in various ways, which will have some interesting ramifications for search interfaces, and should suggest promising directions for research.

Dr. Marti Hearst is a professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her BA, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and was a Member of the Research Staff at Xerox PARC from 1994 to 1997. A primary focus of Dr. Hearst's research is user interfaces for search.  In 2009, she completed the first book on the topic and she has invented or participated in several well-known search interface projects including the Flamenco project which investigated and promoted the use of faceted metadata for collection navigation. Professor Hearst's other research areas include computational linguistics, information visualization, and analysis of social media. Dr. Hearst has received an NSF CAREER award, an IBM Faculty Award, a Google Research Award, an Okawa Foundation Fellowship, two Excellence in Teaching Awards, and has been principle investigator for more than $3M in research grants.

This event is made possible through the support of the Provost of the University of Pittsburgh.


Monday, February 13, 2012

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 403

Stephen Paling, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rethinking the Organization of Literary Works

Organizing literary works, particularly in terms of subject analysis, has traditionally presented librarianship with difficulties that are not necessarily present with other types of works. This talk is developmental in nature, and has four goals:

The studies in question also represent an attempt to avoid several assumptions:

Rather than asking a more typical question such as, What can we do with the tools we have?, these studies are guided by the question, What tools do we need to have in the first place?



Friday, December 9, 2011

1:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Christian Schunn, Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh

“Obtaining Wisdom via Scaffolded Peer Review”

Abstract: Via the Web, students and teachers are increasingly exchanging resources and ideas.  We have been studying the ways in which peer reviewing, and supports for improved peer reviewing, increases the quality of what is shared and retrieved in these web-based exchange systems. I will present data from both student sharing and teacher sharing websites, revealing a number of dysfunctions and the ways in which they can be circumvented.

Bio: Christian Schunn is a Research Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center and a Professor of Psychology, Learning Sciences and Policy, and Intelligent Systems at the University of Pittsburgh. His primary basic research examines the cognitive basis of engineering innovation and creativity, and most of his educational research and curriculum design work involves the use of engineering design projects to teach science and mathematics. He directs the SWoRD project, a web-based system for using peer-review to bring writing back into the undergraduate curriculum and to provide a supercollider for educational research on writing. He has also studied academic peer review, and peer exchange of teaching resources via the web.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 404

Paul Resnick, School of Information, University of Michigan

“Healthier Together: Social Approaches to Health and Wellness”

It’s getting a lot easier to track our health-related states (weight, blood pressure, glucose, moods, disease symptoms, etc.) and our health-related behaviors (smoking, food intake, drugs and medications, exercise, sleep, etc.) Reflecting privately on our traces can help us make good judgments (e.g., deciding whether to exercise in the morning or at night to improve sleep?). Reflecting privately on our traces can also help us make behavior changes that are hard to stick with (e.g., eating less; exercising regularly). Selectively sharing some of these traces can be even more powerful than reflecting on them individually. In this talk, I’ll offer a framework for thinking about the benefits and barriers of sharing those traces, with illustrations from my own work and other research projects and commercial practice.

Bio: Paul Resnick is a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. He previously worked as a researcher at AT&T Labs and AT&T Bell Labs, and as an Assistant Professor at the MIT Sloan Scohol of Management. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1992.Professor Resnick’s research is broadly in social computing. His current projects include using reputations to calibrate raters and prevent manipulation, designing news aggregators that encourage exposure to diverse political opinions, detecting and correcting the spread of rumors online, and the design of social applications that promote health and wellness.He was a pioneer in the field of recommender systems (sometimes called collaborative or social filtering). His work with colleagues on the GroupLens system in the 1990s was recognized with the 2010 ACM Software System Award. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and a book, written with Robert Kraut, titled Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-based social design. Forthcoming 2011, MIT Press.


Friday, November 11, 2011

1:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

William R. McIvor, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh

“Human-Patient Simulation: A Prospect for Information Scientists”

This talk will introduce two educational technologies being used by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine that may benefit from collaboration with information scientists: manikin-based human patient simulation and screen-based, computer simulation.

During manikin-based simulation a computer-driven mannequin serves as a surrogate patient. Healthcare providers learn and practice on the simulators, and then must be debriefed after their experience as to the appropriateness and impact of their actions. While debriefing is critically important to the participants’ learning from the simulation, it generally lasts about twice as long as the simulation itself, is labor-intensive for the simulation educator, and often follows a similar algorithm for each scenario. My goal is to create a learning system that determines a participant’s actions from the simulation logs, and then debriefs participants by asking a series of questions to help them reflect on their performance and decisions made during the simulation. By “automating” the debriefing process the proposed effect could be to increase the efficiency of simulation education and improve the consistency and quality of the debriefing experience for the simulation participant. We propose to use a screen-based simulation application developed at Pitt Med called vpSim ( to create the debriefing system.

In addition to debriefing after manikin-based simulation, vpSim is used to present clinical scenarios to learners via text and/or pictures. Participants respond to multiple-choice questions about their proposed treatment options or understanding of pathophysiology, and then receive feedback from the application based on those answers. The limitation of this application is that it uses MCQs, and therefore the decision-making of the participant is not as accurately judged as if they answered questions using free text. In its current formulation, vpSim cannot recognize and respond to free text in real-time, as the participant is using the program. Therefore, I am making a presentation to the School of Information Science to solicit collaborative relationships to develop Pitt Med’s screen-based simulation capabilities.

Bio: William McIvor, MD is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Associate Director of the Winter Institute of Simulation Education and Research for Medical Student Simulation Education. My research interests are in using simulation (mannequin-based and screen-based) for medical student education and assessment.


Friday, October 21, 2011

2:00 p.m.
IS Building, Room 501

Diane Kelly, Associate Professor and McColl Distinguished Term Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

We have a Suggestion for You: Understanding Query Suggestion in Information Search

Abstract: Query suggestion is now a common feature of many information search systems. While much research has been conducted about how to generate suggestions, fewer studies have been conducted about how people interact with and use suggestions, and make decisions about their quality. In this talk, I will provide an overview of several studies we have conducted to better understand how and when people use suggestions during information search and the outcome of this usage.  These studies include investigations of the effects of query popularity, search experience, topic difficulty and search stage on use of suggestions.  I will also provide an overview of a recently completed study that investigated how people evaluate the quality of query suggestions and how these evaluations relate to features of the queries and search results, as well as how they impact a person’s willingness to recommend the query to others. 

Bio: Diane Kelly is an Associate Professor and McColl Distinguished Term Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. Her research interests are in interactive information search and retrieval, information search behavior and evaluation methods and metrics. Her research has been published in several conferences and journals including ACM SIGIR, ACM CHI, CIKM, IIiX, JCDL, Transactions on Information Systems, Information Processing and Management, JASIST, IEEE Computer and CACM.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on research design, interactive information retrieval and foundations of information science. She is the recipient of two teaching awards: the 2009 ASIST/Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award and the 2007 SILS Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.  She has served on the UNC Behavioral Institutional Review Board (IRB) since 2005. She received a Ph.D. in Information Science and a Graduate Certificate in Cognitive Science from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama. (Homepage:

Friday, September 23, 2011

1:30 p.m.
IS Building, Room 405

David Lankes, Professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s iSchool

LIS Grand Challenges and the Death of the User

Abstract: Grand challenges are hard problems with solutions that have societal level impacts. They are as much rallying cry as research agenda, and are useful in promoting innovation in the field and building strong cross-disciplinary partnerships. What are the grand challenges in library and information science? This presentation will focus on efforts to define these grand challenges and the implications for research and education in the LIS field. Special emphasis will be put on moving past concepts of users to true participation and past information to knowledge.

Bio: R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean's Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, the director of the library science program for the school and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. Lankes is a passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today's society.

link to: [ video ]


May 4, 2011

Jim Jansen
Associate Professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University

Evaluating Demographic Targeting in Online Advertising Using Sponsored Search Analytics

Abstract: Revolutionizing the advertising industry, sponsored search is the economic engine of the Web, providing the revenue stream for the major search engines and fueling much of the “free” access to information and tools that have become essential in the daily lives of millions. As such, sponsored search has shaped the web as we know it. Generating multi-billions of dollars in operating profit for the search engines and others, a complex technical platform underlies this economic and marketing system. Beginning with an examination of the economic impact and conceptual components of sponsored search, we cover empirical research results using data from a four year, &8.5 million dollar sponsored search advertising effort that generated more than $56 million in sales. We investigate the results from the perspectives of common marketing models, demographic targeting, and human information processing. In addition to specific results, findings show that sponsored search provides a data rich source for empirical marketing and advertising research. As such, sponsored search can be a fruitful research area for those in the information science and web analytics research areas.

Jansen is an Associate Professor with the College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of West Point and has a PhD in computer science from Texas A&M University, along with master degrees from Texas A&M (computer science) and Troy State (international relations). Jim is editor of the Internet Research Journal (Emerald), a member of the editorial boards of eight international journals, and serves on the research committee for the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO). He has received several awards and honors, including an ACM Research Award and six application development awards, along with other writing, publishing, research, and leadership honors. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center with the Pew Internet and American Life Project.


April 15, 2011

Dr. Allison Druin,Associate Dean for Research & Director of the HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park

The International Children's Digital Library: A Library for the World's Children

Abstract: Educators from Canada are working with pre-school children in rural South African community centers.  Mongolian Public School children have "Digital Storytime" twice a week in rural classrooms. The children of Arab immigrants are learning about their parents' culture in Michigan charter schools. In Taiwan, English is being taught to working mothers and children.

All of these people are using the International Children's Digital Library (, the largest freely-available digital library of children's books from around the world.  For almost a decade, this research has been led by the University of Maryland; more recently, a non-profit foundation was created to sustain this work. In addition, the library is now available for mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and netbooks.  This presentation will show how users are exploring this digital library to support numerous and diverse literacy activities.  A live demonstration of the online library will be presented along with a discussion of how new mobile storytelling tools have been developed for children to share the stories they create.

Bio: Allison Druin is an Associate Dean for Research in the iSchool at the University of Maryland and is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab.  For almost 10 years, she has led the design research for the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL).  To do this, she leads a unique intergenerational research team, where children (ages 7-11) partner with an interdisciplinary group of researchers to develop new technologies for children. With this team, she has helped to developed new digital library and storytelling tools with such partners as the U.S. National Park Service, Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, Nokia, UNICEF, and many others. In 2010, the ICDL was given the "American Library Association President's Award for International Library Innovation" and named one of the "25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of School Librarians."


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