IT Grants

ITM Chair Sanjay Goel is working with collaborators from many disciplines on grants in anti-piracy, Smart Grid, and virtual flipped classrooms.


College students love free stuff. Free pizza? They are there, paper plates in hand. Free tickets to a concert? They stand in line and wait. Free movies on their computers? They download them. Sometimes illegally. 

Online piracy, downloading movies and music illegally, costs media companies an estimated $12.5 billion annually. NBC Universal has teamed up with the School of Business and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government to investigate student perceptions in downloading music and movies. Dr. Goel and his associates, Tom Gais, Director of the Rockefeller Institute of Government and Kevin Williams, Vice Provost, Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Psychology, have received a $200,000 grant from NBC to identify anti-piracy measures being used in four-year schools in the SUNY system, and collect data on the effectiveness of these measures. 

In the final step of the study, the researchers will provide incentives to students to encourage them to download legally. Students at the University at Albany and other selected schools in the SUNY system will receive heavily discounted service. The impact of these incentives will be measured through their downloading behavior. The hope is that students will establish a habit of paying for content that will extend past graduation. 

NSF Grant Combines Online Education with Flipped Classroom for Digital Forensics Program

Traditionally, an instructor delivers a lesson in a classroom. In a flipped classroom, a videotaped lecture is watched in advance of the classroom meeting. Combining a virtual classroom with a flipped classroom, results in an online experience with increased interaction between faculty and students.  
A $280,000 National Science Foundation grant will create a pipeline from several regional community colleges in the SUNY system to the University at Albany.  The students will work towards a B.S. degree in digital forensics via use of innovative educational techniques including virtual flipped classrooms. The award will cover developing the supporting technology and curriculum, including virtual collaborative lab, and train-the-trainer workshops to share knowledge with community college faculty. High-tech laboratories in the cloud will allow community colleges and universities to share software resources. Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Kevin J. Williams and Damira Pon, a Ph.D. Candidate with a specialization in Information Assurance, join Dr. Goel in this endeavor.

Smart Grid Encourages Smart Energy Consumption

New York State has stated that 30% of its energy will come from renewable sources by 2015. Large solar and wind farms provide part of the renewable energy solution. Microgeneration, small-scale energy generation, e.g. at the individual household level, will help reach this goal. The new Smart Grid will have two-way meters that measure electricity entering and leaving the home, allowing household producers to sell power back to the grid at market rates. It also provides a detailed instantaneous analysis of energy generation and consumption providing users with the information necessary to make better energy conservation decisions.

After editing “IEEE Smart Grid Vision for Communications: 2030 and Beyond” with Dr. Stephen Bush, GE Global Research and Dr. David Bakken, ITM Chair at Washington State University, Dr. Goel collaborated with faculty from the departments of atmospheric and environmental sciences, finance, and psychology to create a comprehensive Smart Grid Model that uses psychology and prediction of electricity market forecasting.

A $100,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded to Professors Goel and Williams will provide 200 households with smart meters which will be used to provide information to the user regarding their energy consumption. According to Dr. Goel, this research will answer the question, “How can we nudge users to switch to energy conservation behavior by providing precise usage information and normative information along with motivational appeals?”