New directions in the study of infrastructure

This MCubed project, proposed by UMSI Associate Professor of Information Christian Sandvig, will look at the radical transformation taking place in computing, making infrastructure “smarter” and better able to process, index, sense, and even self-reconfigure information. UMSI professors Paul Edwards and Carl Lagoze will be collaborating with Sandvig on this project.

Start date: 11/28/2012
End date: 11/28/2014

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The addition of information technology is transforming the way society provides important infrastructures, including telecommunications, power, and transport as well as ideas, culture, and scientific data. Thanks to new capabilities in computing and control, every year, infrastructures claim to be “smarter” with new capacities for distributed processing, indexing, sensing, memory, and even self-reconfiguration. This radical transformation is well underway, but the assessment of its consequences is still in its infancy. 

Infrastructure unevenly distributes benefits and capabilities, with implications for politics, economics, knowledge, and social justice (to name just a few domains). This proposal aims to identify new research directions in the emerging social scientific and technical areas addressing this issue—known as “infrastructure studies.” It will bring together three faculty members who have not previously collaborated on a research project to recruit a postdoctoral scholar producing research at the frontier of this area.

Grants

MCubed Seed Grant: New Directions in the Study of Infrastructure, University of Michigan: $60,000

 

MCubed is a two-year seed-funding program designed to empower interdisciplinary teams of University of Michigan faculty to pursue new initiatives with major societal impact.