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Tanushree Mitra appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science

Department News - Wed, 2017-10-18 12:12

Tanushree Mitra has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is one of 27 new faculty members hired by the college for the 2017-18 academic year.

Mitra’s research combines computer science and sociology, more popularly known as computational social science. Blending concepts from both these fields, she uncovers insights about social life and  human behavior online using large datasets.

“What excites me most about computer science is the interaction between computer systems and their human users and the plethora of new applications and opportunities that this can enable,” said Mitra.

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Virginia Tech researcher brings interactive games to museums

Department News - Tue, 2017-10-17 17:00

Museums have a captive audience in visitors who typically meander through static exhibits depicting various scenes of cultural and natural history. But in the new digital age, the museum audience is increasingly digitally savvy and accustomed to learning through interactive games and other forms of digital media.

A Virginia Tech researcher is helping to bridge the digital gaps that visitors experience in museums by studying virtual spaces that could serve to make institutions more interactive, social, and gamelike — and hopefully more appealing — to 21st century audiences.

Panagiotis Apostolellis, an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, and a team of researchers assessed the ability of museums to provide young visitors with an enjoyable and augmented learning experience by harnessing the educational value of virtual environments and computer games for a large audience.

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Smartwatch app could inspire more frequent physical activity, Virginia Tech study finds

Department News - Fri, 2017-08-25 15:35

An interdisciplinary study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech suggests the secret to obtaining your summertime fitness goals might not be the amount of weight you’re bench pressing or how many miles you run, but generating friendly competition to keep you one step ahead of your fitness buddies.

The concept of friendly competition in group exercise being explored by the researchers uses a smartwatch app that could help people in a group exercise program get —and stay — more active.

At the heart of the group exercise research is a Fitbit-like smartwatch and its software developed by Andrey Esakia, a Ph.D. candidate in Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science who worked on the project to study the effects of technology in group physical activity. The work is supported by a multidisciplinary seed grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

Esakia collaborated with the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences to incorporate the hardware and software of the watch into an existing initiative, FitEx, from the Physical Activity Leadership Team of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Physical Activity Research and Community Implementation Laboratory. FitEx is an eight-week physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption program delivered in community settings.

 

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