Information, Trust, and Society Initiative

The Information, Trust, and Society Initiative (ITSI) at Virginia Tech explores the changing relationship between society and information. At its core, ITSI focuses on the intersection of social media and influence, but also broader research focus areas of social media analytics, artificial intelligence, the impact of technology on democracy.

ITSI is part of the Integrated Security Destination Area (ISDA) and is managed by the Research Subcommittee of the ISDA Stakeholders Committee. ITSI involves key faculty contributors from six colleges and institutes, including the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Pamplin College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Science, School of Public and International Affairs, and the Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

Contact Us

Russ Walker
Program Manager
Integrated Security Destination Area
Tracy McElroy
Program Manager
Integrated Security Destination Area

ITSI Activities, Events, and News

CyberLeaders focus on Influence
November 2018 — Through its ongoing grant from the Hewlett Cyber Initiative, Virginia Tech's Hume Center, School of Public and International Affairs, Pamplin College of Business have selected a cohort of ten students to participate in its CyberLeaders Program. Undergraduate students will spend a semester in Arlington focused on technology, policy, and business aspects of cyber and information conflict. A semester-long capstone project will investigate social media and influence operations in partnership with the Hamilton 68 program.
First ITSI Workshop
October 2018 — The Integrated Security Destination Area hosted the first Information, Trust, and Society Initiative (ITSI) workshop bringing together 40 faculty to discuss collaboration, research themes, and governance for ITSI. Lightning talks from researchers highlighted opportunities to collaborate across engineering, mathematics, social science, humanities, and business.
VT Selected for COMPASS Program
September 2018 — Virginia Tech faculty members were part of the Systems and Technology Research (STR) team that has been selected to participate in the DARPA COMPASS program focused on gray-zone conflict and hybrid warfare. Aaron Brantly, Justus Graham, and Walid Saad and a team of students will model adversary behavior to anticipate and counter adversary information and cyber warfare actions.
Designing Socio-Technical Systems of Truth
March 2018 — Kurt Luther chaired the Designing Socio-Technical Systems of Truth workshop at Virginia Tech. The workshop brought together over 50 faculty, student, and staff to discuss the role of social technologies in promoting truth and preventing misinformation. Computer Science, History, Sociology, Communication, and Science and Technology Studies were just some of the disciplines represented by presenters.

ITSI Research Programs

Virginia Tech's faculty have wide-ranging research programs ongoing in topics related to information, trust, and society. The university's core strength in world-class research are in the following key areas of expertise:

  • social computing and social media analytics;
  • data science for national security;
  • rhetoric and bias in communications;
  • policy and governance for communication technology; and
  • decision science and analytics.

Seven research centers and institutes listed below capture a large portion of the ongoing research activity. For more information see personal websites for the faculty listed below.

ITSI Faculty

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