Intel Funds Groundbreaking Social Computing Center at Georgia Tech

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In a paradigm-breaking approach, Intel has announced a new Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing (ISTC-Social) involving the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts as a research partner, supported by $1.625 million in funding. Intel’s commitment affirms liberal arts-based research as a leading edge for third-wave computing. 

“This is really quite daring,” said Carl DiSalvo, associate professor in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, which houses one of the nation’s top graduate programs in digital media.  “The research convention has been to create a technology and then find a use for it. ISTC-Social shifts that to the innovation occurring in the humanities and social sciences. We begin with cultural and societal analysis, imagine social contexts or societal goals, and those become the driver for creating technology.”

Intel CTO Justin Rattner announced the ISTC-Social this morning at the annual Research at Intel event.  This is the third ISTC at Georgia Tech; faculty in the College of Computing are part of ITSCs for Embedded and Pervasive Computing. ISTC-Social is the first Intel-academic collaboration to span technology, social sciences and humanities. The premise is that technology, culture, politics and computing are inextricably intertwined and are, therefore, essential to study in amalgam.

“This type of innovation at the crossroads of humanities, social sciences and technology has been a hallmark of liberal arts at Georgia Tech,” said Ian Bogost, director of the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture Graduate Program in Digital Media. “ITSC-Social will further enable our research on completely novel forms of social computing.”

DiSalvo, Bogost and Assistant Professor Christopher Le Dantec will partner with researchers at Intel and the ISTC-Social hub at the University of California, Irvine, as well as with faculty in centers at Cornell, Indiana and New York Universities. The work will converge across informatics, anthropology, communication, digital humanities, cultural studies, science and technology studies, media studies, philosophy, computer science and design. The Georgia Tech center will lead research on Creativity and Collectivity, specifically,how group production and ‘patterns of making’ are changing what it means to be creative. 

“One future aspect of media is social, and people in humanities and social sciences understand what makes things social,” said DiSalvo. “Third-wave computing is moving us from the era of one person using one device to massively networked, mobile and cloud computing, but it is the liberal arts-based exploration of how we use those technologies that will really reinvent the future.”



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