CCDS Welcomes Visiting Scholar Benjamin Yankson, and Research Robot Zenbo

April 24, 2019

Zenbo and Yankson

CCDS had the opportunity to welcome visiting scholar Benjamin Yankson to the iSchool on Tuesday. Professor Yankson is a Faculty member at Sheridan College’s School of Applied Computing in Ontario, Canada, and current PhD Candidate at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). 

Yankson speaks to students and faculty about Privacy Preservation Frameworks in the context of Smart Toys.

Professor Yankson spoke on the topic of Privacy Preservation Framework for Smart Connected Devices. His discussion focused mainly on Smart Toys and the many privacy challenges, and opportunities, that these types of toys present.

Professor Yankson also gave a guest lecture in SOC300, Internet & Society, regarding the Internet of Things. Yankson demonstrated the capabilities and considerations of Smart Toys through his research robot, Zenbo- a student favorite.

Yankson Lunch

Following his presentation on Privacy Preservation Frameworks, Professor Yankson spent time with Master's and PhD students and faculty during lunch in the CCDS lab. He spoke on his current research and the opportunities to further his work, as well as giving advice to current students on areas of future work. 

Thank you for sharing your time, expertise, and Zenbo with all of us here at CCDS!

Huichuan Zenbo

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iSchool Researchers to Study Election-Related Misinformation on WhatsApp

Nov. 13, 2018


Written by J.D. Ross (iSchool News Page

A pair of researchers from the Center for Computational and Data Science (CCDS) at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) have received a research award from the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service to study the issues of misinformation transmitted over the platform.

Patricia Rossini and Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Postdoctoral researcher Patricia Rossini (top) and Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley will study election related misinformation shared on WhatsApp.

Postdoctoral researcher Patricia Rossini and Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley were selected to examine election related misinformation, specifically focusing on information sharing, political engagement, and discussion in the 2018 Brazilian elections. Rossini serves as principal investigator on the award. 

WhatsApp can be a powerful medium for political discourse and engagement. But at the same time, it can also be misused to share political information that is inaccurate or inflammatory. The company is interested in understanding this space both from the perspective of political actors and voters as well as understanding how they might take steps to prevent the misuse of the platform in electoral processes.

The goal of the WhatsApp Misinformation and Social Science Research Awards is to facilitate high quality, external research around the topics of misinformation by academics and experts who are in the ...


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iSchool Researchers to Participate in Twitter-funded Study on Discussion Quality

July 31, 2018


By: J.D. Ross

In the context of growing political polarization, the spread of misinformation, and increases in incivility and intolerance, how can the Twitter social networking service assess and improve the quality of its conversations?  Two researchers from the School of Information Studies (iSchool) are part of an interdisciplinary team selected by Twitter to conduct research and develop metrics to help identify behaviors that are threatening to the quality of the discussions on the platform. 

Patricia Rossini and Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Postdoctoral researcher Patricia Rossini (top) and Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley are part of the team exploring uncivil and intolerant discourse on Twitter.

In addition to Syracuse University, other institutions participating include Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, and Bocconi University. Over 230 proposals were reviewed in the selection process, and the team was one of two chosen to receive a Twitter research grant. 

Led by Rebekah Tromble, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the team will conduct research comparing discussions around polarized and non-polarized topics in the United States and United Kingdom to develop and implement four metrics that will provide a better understanding of how communities form around discussions on Twitter and will investigate the extent of certain problems ...


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Illuminating Team Publishes on 2014 Gubernatorial Campaigns

July 12, 2018

Illuminating team members Patricia Rossini, Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Kate Kenski, Jeff Hemsley, Feifei Zhang, and Brian Dobreski were recently published in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics. The article is titled "The relationship between race competitiveness, standing in the polls, and social media communication strategies during the 2014 U.S. gubernatorial campaigns". 

The article abstract states: 

"Political campaigns have been systematically using social media for strategic advantage. However, little is known about how competitiveness affects the ways candidates communicate online. Our study analyzes how race competitiveness as measured by polling performance influences candidates’ strategies on Twitter and Facebook. We analyze all social media messages of Republican and Democratic candidates in states that held gubernatorial elections in 2014 using supervised automated content analysis. We find that position in the polls and that race competitiveness are correlated with the ways candidates communicate on social media, and that candidates use Twitter and Facebook in different ways to communicate with the public."

The article is available at Taylor & Francis Online

Citation: Rossini, P., Stromer-Galley, J., Kenski, K., Hemsley, J., Zhang, F., & Dobreski, B. (2018). The relationship between race competitiveness, standing in the polls, and social media communication strategies during the 2014 U ...


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CCDS Welcomes New Research Assistant Professor, Brian McKernan!

April 19, 2018

Brian McKernan.jpg

CCDS is excited to welcome Brian McKernan as a new Research Assistant Professor within the iSchool beginning in June!

Prior to joining the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, Brian was an assistant professor of sociology at The Sage Colleges. Brian has also taught courses at New York University, Mount Holyoke College, and SUNY Albany.

Brian writes: 

"From 2013 to 2015, I worked on the CYCLES project with Professor Stromer-Galley from the School of Information Studies as well as scholars and designers from a variety of different institutions. CYCLES was a federally funded research program to design an educational video game that can teach players about cognitive biases and reduce the likelihood that they will commit these biases in the future. I found the project to be immensely valuable and my work on the project to be very fulfilling. I have been eager to participate in similar projects ever since.

My TRACE work: 

I am looking forward to meaningfully contributing to every facet of the TRACE project. Much of my work so far has focused on helping to design the TRACE application, particularly how we can incorporate insights from literature in communication and information studies as well as research ...


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CCDS Seed Funding Highlights Presents: Jeff Hemsley

April 5, 2018

Jeff Hemsley

The Center for Computational and Data Science brings you a second Seed Funding Highlight!


The Center offers funding for proposals that align with our mission: working to advance theoretical or applied research in the social sciences using advanced computational approaches, including human language technologies and data science. The goal of seed funding is to support pilot research that will lead to future grant proposals or research publications, as well as to support dissertation research that advances CCDS goals.

We are excited to showcase the research of iSchool Assistant Professor Jeff Hemsley! Jeff received a PhD from the University of Washington’s Information School in 2014. Prior to that Jeff graduated with a BS in Economics with a minor in Math and Statistics. Jeff’s previous work experience includes working in the software industry for nearly 18 years. He held positions as a software engineer, a manager, a project manager, and as a test engineer.

Jeff Hemsley’s research interests center on understanding information diffusion – or viral events, particularly in the context of politics in social media. Jeff writes that “What has inspired me about studying viral events is that they can bring alternate perspectives and the grievances of marginalized groups ...


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CCDS Seed Funding Highlights Presents: "Mook" Sikana Tanupabrungsun

April 4, 2018

Mook Sikana Tanupabrungsun

CCDS Seed Funding Highlights

The Center for Computational and Data Science offers seed funding for proposals that align with the mission of the Center: working to advance theoretical or applied research in the social sciences using advanced computational approaches, including human language technologies and data science. The goal of seed funding is to support pilot research that will lead to future grant proposals or research publications, as well as to support dissertation research that advances CCDS goals.

We are excited to showcase the research of iSchool faculty and PhD students, and how CCDS seed funding has impacted their work. Our first seed funding follow up features Mook Sikana Tanupabrungsun, a 4th year PhD student at the iSchool, who received seed funding from CCDS to support her PhD work. Mook received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand. She recently defended her dissertation and will graduate in the Spring of 2018, and will be working for Microsoft, Redmond following graduation.

The Research:

Mook’s dissertation, titled “Microcelebrity Practices: A Cross-Platform Study Through a Richness Framework”, examined the uses of social media by celebrities for growing and maintaining ...


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CCDS Attends 2018 Northeast Big Data Hub Summit

April 2, 2018

Northeast Big Data Hub Logo

On Tuesday, March 27th, CCDS’ Jenny Stromer-Galley and Alexandra Sargent attended the 2018 Summit of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub (“the Hub”) in NYC at the Columbia Journalism School. The Hub hosts an annual summit to convene the data science stakeholder community of the Northeast United States, offer updates on the Hub’s continued work, host panel discussions and multi-sector input, and provide opportunities for discussion and collaboration with stakeholders during breakout sessions.

This years’ keynote speaker was Corinna Cortes, the head of Google Research in NYC, who spoke about her team’s data-driven approach to fighting fake news. Cortes opened by stating that “Google is a search tool, not the ledger of absolute truth”- a statement which prompted discussion about advertising and interests among many of the attendees. Cortes went on to explain how Google uses relevance and authoritativeness to produce search results, and explained how these can be used to produce fake news as a primary search result. Cortes’ examples of how these two search result factors may produce fake news were from the 2016 Presidential election, during which a top search result gave incorrect election numbers, and recent Cambridge Analytica claims and misinformation. Cortes explained how ...


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Hawai’i International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS-52) Call for Papers

March 30, 2018


The Hawai’i International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS-52) has posted a call for papers! 

The purpose of HICSS is to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas, research results, development activities, and applications among academicians and practitioners in computer-based systems sciences. The conference consists of tutorials, advanced seminars, presentations of accepted papers, open forum, tasks forces, and plenary and distinguished guest lectures. There is a high degree of interaction and discussion among the conference participants because the conference is conducted in a workshop-like setting.

Papers are invited for the mini-track on “Crowd-Enhanced Technologies for Improving Reasoning and Solving Complex Problems” as part of the Collaboration Systems and Technology Track at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). 

CCDS will be there to discuss the TRACE Project. For others that are interested, the deadline for submissions is June 15th, 2019 and the conference will be held January 8-11, 2019. 

For more information, please visit or contact James Folkestad at 


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Bei Yu Analyzes Exaggerated Claims in Science Communications

Feb. 12, 2018

Bei Yu

By Hana Maeda

In the information age of rapid news sharing, iSchool professor Bei Yu has started a project about misinformation to better understand scientific research. Yu, whose research area is in applied Natural Language Processing (NLP), is taking an NLP approach to analyze exaggerated claims in science communications. Specifically, Yu and her team is building a computational model on the language of certainty, gathering and comparing science claims from prior research. Their findings will help the public understand how people describe similar topics in different ways. For instance, how news stories and social media communication might be different from what scientists are saying. “I think [our findings] can be training materials for science education, so the public can get more familiar with scientists’ language as a primary source,” Yu says.

Ultimately, her goal is to monitor the quality of science communications in society with this automated tool. Yu feels that original findings from scientists aren’t directly presented to the public, whether the findings are hard to understand or difficult to locate. Now that anyone can report science claims online, she finds that there’s more public information. For Yu, the challenge is to develop better methods of accessing ...


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