UC Irvine TODAY UC Irvine homepage UC Irvine TODAY

UC Irvine TODAY

News

News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

News Release

Email this page to a friend EmailPrinter friendly page PrintShare Share

UCI to lead national social computing research center

Intel gives $12.5 million for five-campus collaboration

— Irvine, Calif., June 26, 2012 —

UC Irvine will anchor a new $12.5 million, Intel-funded research center that applies social science and humanities to the design and analysis of digital information.

“Technology is profoundly entangled with our everyday lives. As researchers, we can’t get a handle on what’s going on by looking at technical factors alone. We have to study them in concert with human, social and cultural aspects,” said UCI informatics professor Paul Dourish.

He and Scott Mainwaring of Intel Labs will co-lead the center, dubbed the Intel Science & Technology Center for Social Computing, along with UCI anthropology and law professor Bill Maurer.

Justin Rattner, Intel chief technology officer, announced the new center this morning in San Francisco at the Research@Intel 10th anniversary event. “Intel’s latest ISTC will establish a new computing paradigm to bridge the gap between technical and social disciplines and create new ways for social scientists, designers and technologists to collaboratively inform, challenge and advance each other’s work,” he said.

Maurer, associate dean of UCI’s School of Social Sciences, agreed: “Computing today is social through and through, and that is redefining the very nature of how we experience ourselves as persons. Information design needs to be supplemented by disciplines with long histories of wrestling with social and technical relationships.”

Intel researchers will work side by side with academics in campus labs. The research is not proprietary and will be public, open intellectual property. Mainwaring, senior research scientist with Intel Labs’ Interaction & Experience Research group, has already moved into an office at UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences.

“I’m tremendously excited,” he said. “I’ve been working for the past decade with Paul Dourish and Bill Maurer on a number of collaborations, and this is a chance for me to really get engaged with the whole academic community here at Irvine.”

UCI will serve as the center’s hub, with four other campuses participating: Cornell University, Indiana University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and New York University. Those involved will include experts in anthropology, media studies, digital humanities, philosophy and computer science, among others.

Plans encompass everything from holding virtual five-campus seminars to creating product prototypes. Mainwaring said he and others could bring valuable business-world perspective to the work.

“There’s a great opportunity here. There’s also a challenge, because we’re dealing with rigorous theory based on social science,” he said. “A major focus for the Intel researchers based here will be to bridge this divide, to help frame our findings in ways that can have real-world impact within our company and elsewhere.”

UCI will receive $5 million over a five-year period, with another $7.5 million split among the other universities. A defining theme will be explored annually. The first concerns restoring “materiality” to information – such as examining the carbon footprint and other tangible costs and effects of invisible processes.

The grant is part of Intel’s larger, $100 million program to increase university research and accelerate innovation. Anchored at leading institutions across the nation, these collaborations build research communities focused on specific technology areas.

Maurer said the effort dovetails with a strong history of joint projects at UCI since its inception nearly 50 years ago. “It’s in our DNA to be interdisciplinary,” he said.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Mainwaring, Maurer and Dourish
Courtesy of Brad Whalen / Intel Labs
Left to right, Scott Mainwaring of Intel Labs, who will co-lead a new social computing center with UC Irvine anthropology professor Bill Maurer and UC Irvine informatics professor Paul Dourish

Media Contact

Janet Wilson
University Communications
949-824-3969
janethw@uci.edu

Experts Available

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media.
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine - Irvine, CA 92697 : 949-824-5011
Comments & Questions | Privacy & Legal Notice | Copyright Inquiries | © 2014 UC Regents