Before beginning my studies at Maryland's iSchool, my focus was mainly on computing systems and information technology (BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Software Engineering), including signal processing (e.g., image and sound data processing) and embedded software (i.e., low-level customized software for computing devices). For my master's thesis, I designed a MapReduce-inspired software framework for swarm robot systems to reduce the complexity of application development while allowing energy-efficient transmissions of robots' sensory data. At that time, I read Swarm Intelligence (Kennedy et al., 2001), and was intrigued by the underlying philosophy of swarm robot systems, which assumed that intelligence was possible only when multiple agents exchanged their different perceptions of information. This raised my intellectual curiosity for people's use and exchange of information that resulted in high intelligence of humans, and eventually led me to pursue studies in the field of Information Science.
My research interests are in understanding how socio-technical factors affect various kinds of communities, organizations, and individuals, how the information landscape of a city is shaped by urban/community features, and what factors we need to consider in designing social computing systems to solve cities' information problems. Methodologically, I am interested in using computational approaches based on various kinds of data (e.g., geo-tagged social media data). Theoretically, I want to further theorize/conceptualize the dynamics of a city and urban information, and potentially contribute to organizational and/or information theories. The relevant fields to my research interests include, but are not limited to, HCI, Social Computing, Information Systems, and Community/Urban Informatics.
I have been working with Dr. Brian Butler as my advisor in the doctoral program at the University of Maryland’s iSchool to understand local information issues such as neighborhood information accessibility and its causes, conceptualize these phenomena, and find solutions. I am also actively working with Dr. Richard Marciano (Digital Curation Innovation Center), Dr. Ping Wang (UMD iSchool), and Dr. Rosta Farzan (University of Pittsburgh's iSchool). Additionally, I am a Junior Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI) and a Data Science & Technology Fellow at The Center for Open Data Enterprise.