UCI Home to Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing

Prof. Paul Dourish is co-leading the newly established Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) for Social Computing at UC Irvine, together with UCI Anthropology and Law professor Bill Maurer and Scott Mainwaring of Intel Labs. Launched in late June 2012, the interdisciplinary center applies social science and humanities to the design and analysis of digital information. 

Prof. Paul Dourish, Photo courtesy of Brad Whalen/IntelThe Social Computing center functions as a single distributed research group, across disciplines and universities.  The center is based at UCI, with four partner (“spoke”) institutions: Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Indiana University, and New York University.  The five campus center will receive $12.5 million over five years from Intel.  UCI will receive $5 million; $7.5 million will be divided among the four spoke universities.

The center defines social computing as the study of information technologies and digital media as social and cultural phenomena.  Rather than using computing to understand the social, the center uses social science to understand the contemporary phenomena of computing – from social networks to e-government.  Its goal is to bridge gaps between technical and social disciplines and understandings, and create new ways for social scientists, designers, and technologists to inform, challenge, and advance each others’ work.

Like other Intel Science and Technology Centers, the Social Computing center uses an open, collaborative model of industrial-academic partnership.  Intel funds the center’s activities, but all research results will be published and software developed will be open-source, to encourage widespread sharing of information and results and to avoid IP issues that have hindered other models.


Five research areas the center will focus on.The figure to the left lists five research areas the center will focus on that have significant opportunity for impact.

For more information, visit: the Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) for Social Computing website.

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: