Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grants

Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grants (PCAG) provide initial funding for novel and innovative projects that advance Pitt Cyber’s mission: to bring the breadth of one of the world’s leading public research universities to bear on the critical questions of networks, data, and algorithms, with a focus on the ever-changing gaps among law, policy, and technology.

PCAG funding is to be used especially to advance projects that establish and extend key intellectual infrastructures, such as research and teaching in methods with broad application and utility across disciplines, and projects that bring together researchers, teachers, and/or students across fields of interest.

PCAG funding may be particularly useful in launching transdisciplinary projects that may later attract funding and sponsorship within the university, and/or from government, philanthropic, and industry partners.

PCAG Applications for the 2022-23 school year are now open and due September 30th. Apply here!

+ 2022 Recipients 

Analyzing Information Ecosystems in Western Pennsylvania

This effort intends to develop key data infrastructure and analysis protocols for significant disinformation flows in Western Pennsylvania, including related to vaccinations and election administration for the Pitt Disinformation Lab.

Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Professor, Political Science, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences; Pitt Cyber Research and Academic Director; Affiliate Scholar, Intelligent Systems Program Jessica Ghilani, Associate Professor of Communication, Pitt Greensburg
Lara Putnam, UCIS Research Professor of History, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences

Covid Disinformation in Western Pennsylvania and Rio de Janeiro Seminar Development 

Development of a seminar for researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Pittsburgh for the development of a collaboration to estimate the causal effect of disruptive vaccine disinformation on avoidable deaths.

Keila Grinberg, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies and Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh

Scaling Up Cyber Physical Systems Security Education - From Theory to Practice

To develop a testbed that integrates with Pitt’s Cyber Range and allows students to work together to explore how cyber-physical systems can be attacked and defended.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information
Daniel Cole, Associate Professor, Swanson School of Engineering; Director of Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program

Hour of Code and CEC/English Community Liaison and Digital Infrastructure

To continue building the infrastructure to bring Hour of Code events to 4-10th graders from under-resourced schools in Homewood.

Gayle Rogers, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Chair of English, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Jessica FitzPatrick, Lecturer, Director of Digital Narrative and Interactive Design Program, English Department, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Modeling Threats to Sustainability of Social Networks as Critical Infrastructure

To develop a proof-of-concept for analyzing the coevolution of systematic threats under a unifying framework.

Amin Rahimian, Assistant Professor, Swanson School of Engineering
Jacob Otto, PhD student, Political Science, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Extended Reality Tour of a Media Archaeology Lab to Widen Access to Material Resources Representing a History of Technology

To design and implement an extended reality (XR) tour of the Media Archeology Lab (MAL) at University of Colorado-Boulder to enable Pitt learners to virtually access MAL’s rich media holdings.

Jessica FitzPatrick, Lecturer, Director of Digital Narrative and Interactive Design Program, English Department, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
libi Striegl, Lab Manager, Media Archeology Lab, University of Colorado
Annette Vee, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Composition Program, Department of English
Dmitriy Babichenko, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information

Studying Trust in Civic Data Portals and its Potential for Enhancement

To develop a better understanding of how intermediary organizations can enhance the trustworthiness of civic data. The proposed project will also help to identify research questions that can be explored in collaboration with Pitt faculty.

David Walker, Lead Software Developer, Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center University Center for Social & Urban Research
Jacob Biehl, Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information
Robert Gradeck, Project Director, Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, University Center for Social & Urban Research 

Improving the Measurement and Moderation of Place-based Social Media in Western PA: Launching the Pittsburgh Disinformation Lab

Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Professor, Political Science, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences; Pitt Cyber Research and Academic Director; Affiliate Scholar, Intelligent Systems Program 
Lara Putnam, UCIS Research Professor of History, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 

The Forbes Corridor Colloquia:  The Social Influence of Advancing Technology in Pittsburgh and Beyond

Jennifer Keating, Senior Lecturer, Department of English
Nora Mattern, Teaching Assistant Professor, Director, Sara Fine Institute, School of Computing and Information

Influencing Detection through Multimodal Discourse and Vividness Analysis 

Adriana Kovashka, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information 
Diane Litman, Professor, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information 
Rebecca Hwa, Professor, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information 
Malihe Alikhani, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information  
Yu-Ru Lin, Associate Professor, Informatics and Networked Systems, School of Computing and Information 
Tessa Provins, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 
Jeffrey Cohn, Professor, Psychology, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 

The Pittsburgh Data Jam: Increasing Data Science Education in High Schools

Judy Cameron, Professor, Psychiatry, School of Medicine 
Bryan Nelson, Assistant Instructor, Statistics, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 
Thomas Akiva, Associate Professor, Human Health & Development, School of Education  

Framework for Qualitative Research into Social Media and Misinformation

Lara Putnam, UCIS Research Professor of History, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 
Rosta Farzan, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, School of Computing and Information 
Mehr Latif, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Sociology, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences 

Modeling the Effect of Disinformation on COVID-19 Vaccination Discourse in Online Social Networks 

Malihe Alikhani, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information 
Dmitriy Babichenko, Clinical Associate Professor, Informatics and Networked Systems, School of Computing and Information 
Kar-Hai Chu, Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health 
Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Professor, Political Science, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences; Pitt Cyber Research and Academic Director; Affiliate Scholar, Intelligent Systems Program 
Jason Colditz, Research Project Manager, PhD candidate and instructor, Institute for Clinical Research Education, School of Medicine 
Beth Hoffman, graduate student researcher, Institute for Clinical Research Education, School of Medicine 
Patrick Healy, PhD candidate, School of Computing and Information 
Jaime Sidani, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine 

A Computational Approach to Measuring and Explaining Sophistication and Argumentation in Political Discourse 

Malihe Alikhani, Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information
Max Goplerud, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Tessa Provins, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science  

People-Centered Data Analysis 

Michael Goodhart, Professor, Department of Political Science
Jackie Smith, Professor, Department of Sociology
Laura Wiens, Executive Director, Pittsburghers for Public Transit   

Developing Digitally Mediated Transparency for Police-Community Relations 

Sera Linardi, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Yu-Ru Lin, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information  

The Cyber Ethics Education Accelerator 

Jennifer Petrie, Postdoctoral Fellow, Katz School of Business
Anthony Rodi, Clinical Associate Professor, Katz School of Business
Cassie Quigley, Associate Professor, School of Education  

A Beacon Approach to Providing COVID-19 Contact Tracing Privacy

David Tipper, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Konstantinos Pelechrinis, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information
Mai Abdelhakim, Assistant Professor, Swanson School of Engineering
Prashant Krishnamurthy, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Alexandros Labridnidis, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Balaji Palanisamy, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information
Jacob Biehl, Associate Professor School of Computing and Information

Measuring Worldviews:  A Map of Stubborn Social Skills

Rongqian Ma, PhD student, School of Computing and Information
Lingfei Wu, Assistant Professor, Departments of Information and Networked Systems, Information Culture and Data Stewardship, School of Computing and Information
Lara Putnam, Professor and Chair, Department of History, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences

Investigation of Analogs between Social, Organizational, and Technical Domains for Information Security

Prashant Krishnamurthy, Professor and Chair, Department of Informatics and Networked Systems, School of Computing and Information
Mai Abdelhakim, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering

Virtual Reality Gaming for Military Mission Planning

Lt. Col. Diana Bishop, Chair, Department of Aerospace Studies, Detachment 730 Commander, US Air Force ROTC

Evaluation of Educational Interventions in Reducing Compromises from Phishing Attacks

Muhammad “Zia” Hydari, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Katz School of Business
Narayan Ramasubbu, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Katz School of Business
Changran Fan, PhD Student, Katz School of Business

Sensing Infrastructure 

Adam J. Lee, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Information
Amy Babay, Assistant Professor, Departments of Informatics and Networked Systems, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information
Jacob Biehl, Associate Professor, Departments of Information Culture and Data Stewardship, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information
Adriana Kovashka, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Information
Olga Kuchinskaya, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Dietrich School  of Arts & Sciences
Stephen Lee, Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information
Eleanor “Nora” Mattern, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship, School of Computing and Information

Social Weather Service: A Cyber-enabled Forecasting of Social Unrest and Conflicts

Vladimir Zadoronzny, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Panos Chrysanthis, Professor of Computer Science, School of Computing and Information
Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Chair of Political Science, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Patrick Manning, Andrew Mellon Professor of World History, Emeritus, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Annotating Cases for Learning to Summarize

Kevin Ashley, Professor, School of Law
Jaromir Savelka, PhD candidate, Intelligent Systems Program

Towards Resilient Smart Critical Infrastructure

David Tipper, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Alexis Kwasinski, Associate Professor, Swanson School of Engineering

Fighting Cyberbullying: A Transformative and Educational Game for Promoting Empathic Understanding

Rosta Farzan, Associate Professor
Dmitriy Babichenko, Professor of Practice
Zak Risha, School of Computing and Information

Annotating Machine Learning Data for Interpreting Cyber-Crime Statutes

Kevin Ashley, Professor of Law and Intelligent Systems, School of Law
Jaromir Savelka, PhD candidate, School of Computing and Information

Cyber Leadership Series in Washington, DC 

Elena Baylis, Professor of Law
Julia Santucci, Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies and Director, Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Affairs, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Mathematical Concepts Visualization through Virtual Reality

Lt. Col. Diana Bishop, Chair, Department of Aerospace Studies, Detachment 730 Commander, US Air Force ROTC

A Program to Innovate Solutions to Digital Disinformation across Democracies

Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Chair, Department of Political Science
Jon Woon, Professor, Departments of Political Science and Economics

Developing a Digital Platform to Enhance Civic Learning across the Disciplines

Ronald Idoko, Adjunct Faculty, Public Service Program, College of General Studies

Expansion of the Journal Ledger:  The World’s First Scholarly Blockchain Journal

Christopher Wilmer, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering 

Technical Support for Course on Applied Legal Data Analytics and AI

Kevin Ashley, Professor of Law and Intelligent Systems
Matthias Grabmair, Systems Scientist, Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

The US Intelligence Community and Cybersecurity

Julia Santucci, Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

A Workshop for Securing the Industrial Internet

Daniel Cole, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Swanson School of Engineering
Alex K. Jones, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Director of the NSF SHREC Center, Swanson School of Engineering

A Study on False Data Injection Cyber-Attacks in Smart Grid Systems

Bo Zeng, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Zhi-Hong Mao, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering

Securing Cybermanufacturing Systems Applied to Cloud-Based Additive Manufacturing

Mostafa Bedewy, Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Mai Abdelhakim, Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information

Distinguished Cybersecurity Seminar Series

James Joshi, Professor, School of Computing and Information
Balaji Palanisamy, Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information