Four College of Engineering Projects Receive CITRIS Seed Awards

Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS) at the University of California (UC) recently announced the 2022 CITRIS Seed Awards recipients. The eight selected proposals, submitted by multicampus teams from Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz, will receive up to $60,000 for their work, thanks in part to external philanthropic support. 

‘The Backdrop’ Podcast Features Scholar on How Social Media Algorithms Can Foster Political Radicalization

A new study from UC Davis suggests that artificial intelligence recommendation algorithms on sites like YouTube and TikTok can play a role in political radicalization. The research team trained “sock puppets” — artificial entities that act like users. Each sock puppet was given a series of right- or left-leaning videos to watch every day, and then the team would compare the recommendations on the sock puppet’s homepage to see if its recommended videos gradually became more biased.

Inside the Underground Market for Fake Amazon Reviews

Ph.D. student Rajvardhan Oak stumbled upon an underground market for fake Amazon reviews by accident while scrolling through Facebook. Seedy scam networks are using social media to organize campaigns that influence product ratings. They’re a headache for shoppers—and tough to crack down on.

Do YouTube Recommendations Foster Political Radicalization?

A new study from UC Davis suggests that AI recommendation algorithms on sites like YouTube and Tik Tok can play a role in political radicalization. If the algorithm sees that a user is watching a lot of biased political videos, the researchers found that it can trap them in a “loop effect,” recommending similarly biased and potentially more extreme content on their homepage and sidebar.

Prem Devanbu, Collaborators Receive 2022 ICSE Most Influential Paper Award

In 2012, UC Davis Computer Science Distinguished Professor Prem Devanbu and his collaborators Zhendong Su, Abram Hindle, Earl Barr and Mark Gabel changed the field of software engineering with their paper, “On the Naturalness of Software.” Ten years later, the paper’s legacy has been recognized with a Most Influential Paper Award from the 2022 International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE).

An Algorithm to Detect Fake News

Computer Science Assistant Professor Jiawei Zhang is developing a neural network that can potentially find, flag and stop inaccurate or misleading articles posing as fact before they spread.

EcoCAR EV Challenge Marks a New Era for UC Davis Engineering

Over the next four years, UC Davis students will be designing the car of the future as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge. The competition challenges students to convert a Cadillac LYRIQ EV into an autonomous, next-generation battery-electric vehicle with vehicle-to-everything connectivity so it can interact with devices and the environment.

Using Jewelry to Communicate

The face already plays an important role in communication, but a group of UC Davis computer scientists led by Ph.D. student Shuyi Sun is taking this to the next level. The team is designing facial jewelry that can use signals from a person’s facial muscles to send wireless commands to at-home devices like Alexa and Google Home. By reading a user’s conscious and unconscious gestures, the technology has the potential to help silently operate lights or other devices or discreetly send messages to get out of potentially dangerous situations.