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CCI Researchers Featured in Drexel Research Magazine

September 8, 2016

Three College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) researchers were recently featured in Drexel University’s research magazine, EXEL.

Assistant Professor Erin Solovey was featured on her research on how our brains and bodies manage distractions in real time, inspired by the fact that most drivers have a greater tendency to multitask while driving (due to smart phones, GPS devices, etc.). Distracted driving puts drivers at a heightened risk for accidents, some even resulting in fatalities.

A potential outcome of her research is the development of an automotive system which recognizes when a driver is multitasking and helps them to drive more safely.

Solovey conducted the research by measuring the physiological changes that the participants undergo when they multitask. She used portable and wearable technologies to examine participants’ brains in the real world while they were performing certain tasks.

Solovey’s main research area is human-computer interaction, focusing on emerging interaction modes and techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces and tangible interaction. She graduated cum laude in computer science from Harvard University, then earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from Tufts University in 2007 and 2012, respectively.

Information studies doctoral candidate Nazanin Andalibi was also featured on her research how communication on online forums can help sexual abuse survivors talk about their experience and how to cope with the situation.

Her research, recently published in the Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, found that online users are willing to ask for help, emotional support or information after a sexual abuse experience. In addition, men are more likely to reveal that they have been victims of sexual abuse under the circumstances that they can stay anonymous.

Andalibi’s research was advised by Associate Professor Andrea Forte. Previously, Andalibi served as a research assistant at Drexel University and research intern at Yahoo. Her areas of interest include computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and social computing, human factors in computing systems, everyday life information/new media behavior, and computer-mediated communication.

The magazine also featured Associate Professor Christopher Yang's work on tracking how far e-cigarette marketing is promoted on Twitter beyond its target audience. Yang served as part of a research team (with the University of Southern California) that investigated three months of data from Twitter users that started with tweets from @blucigs, a Twitter account managed by Blu, the largest e-cigarette brand on the market. They tracked the increase of the audience population from followers of @bluecigs.

The researchers then converted the information into a data visualization map to illustrate the diffusion of tobacco-related marketing messages through social media. The findings of the research concluded that pro-smoking messages on social media can spread easily and widely, and potentially reach many underage audiences.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE and is one of the first studies to research on e-cigarette marketing.

Yang's research interests include Web search and mining, security informatics, knowledge management, cross-lingual information retrieval, text summarization, multimedia retrieval, information visualization, information sharing and privacy, digital library and electronic commerce. He earned his doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees in computer engineering from the University of Arizona.

About Drexel University Research

Founded 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel is a comprehensive urban university of more than 25,500 students, consistently ranked in America’s Top 100 by U.S. News & World Report. Drexel is a leader in experiential, technology-infused education, enriched by the nation’s premier cooperative-education program. The University’s recognized excellence in translational research is supported by the Coulter Foundation through the Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership and by $101 million in sponsored research awards.

Click here to read the EXEL 2016 issue