Clemson’s CyberInstitute encourages collaboration

September 3, 2013

By Vernon Burton, director, Clemson CyberInstitute

When we work together, we can accomplish great things. And that’s essentially the goal of the Clemson CyberInstitute, which serves as a catalyst for transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, empowering students, researchers, and educators in the state and the nation to compete in today’s knowledge-based economy. By connecting the private sector with Clemson University’s talent and initiatives, the CyberInstitute also capitalizes on Clemson University’s world-class expertise in the structure of digital communication.  This connection drives innovation and builds research and educational programs that address the challenges of the 21st century.

One such program is Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center (SMLC), a collaborative initiative with the CyberInstitute, CCIT, and the Colleges of Business and Behavioral Sciences, and Architecture, Arts and Humanities. Projects bring together faculty, staff, students and external partners to support undergraduate creative inquiry, faculty research, pedagogy, and outreach through social media listening. Working closely with industry and academic partners, the SMLC has established a nationwide brand and has received external funding for innovative research such as an NSF-supported study of the polarization of discourse surrounding the 2012 congressional elections.

Another of the CyberInstitute’s contributions to innovation is its seed grant to K.C. Wang and Stan Birchfield, professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), to combine broadband software defined networking, high performance computing, and real-time video analytics to build a next generation transportation system that advances safety, efficiency, and health. The project has been showcased at the White House in the inauguration of the U.S. Ignite program (see video at

The CyberInstitute also provided a seed grant to Historian Megan Shockley, who is working with computer scientist Roy Pargas to develop mobile applications for heritage tourism in the Clemson area. A reconstruction of the Seneca River valley, for example, could allow for virtual tours of Native American villages and paths, cotton fields, sharecropper cabins, and much more. A deeper connection between the present and the past also contributes in untold ways to the psychological health and well being of the people and communities in the neighboring counties.

The CyberInstitute promotes Prime III, developed by Juan Gilbert, Chair of the CyberInstitute Advisory Board, and his team in Human Centered Computing.  Prime III is the world’s single most accessible electronic voting system.  It offers a system that has security, integrity, and user satisfaction.

Another partnership of the CyberInstitute is with the Clemson University Restoration Institute, School of Computing, and Forestry & Natural Resources to develop a real-time data acquisition system. This Intelligent River enables the best water resources management.

The Open Parks Network is a partnership among the CyberInstitute, Clemson Parks Recreation & Tourism Management, Clemson Library, and the National Parks Service.  Through its cyberinfrastructure, the highly distributed parks system of managers, researchers, policy-makers, and professionals can work together and make more informed management decisions.

The CyberInstitute is integral to Clemson University’s strategic plan to foster world-class research and education through intellectual and economic development. The CyberInstitute promotes collaboration by interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, and students to address the challenges that face the 21st century. These teams, in turn, promote the CyberInstitute’s creation of an integrated cyberinfrastructure in support of research and economic and workforce development. We want to provide scholars the resources, both human and computational, to enhance discovery and exploration, and to offer access to hardware, computer applications, graphical user interfaces, and portals. Just as important, we offer educational opportunities and training to use these resources. At a more sophisticated level, we bring together and support scholars who are already familiar with advanced computing technology to create new, and adapt existing, applications to make them more accessible to broader communities.

Faculty interested in proposing a research project or collaboration should contact me at

The CyberInstitute sponsors regular brownbags and workshops. To be added to the listserv to receive announcements, contact Jonathan Hoskin at

For more information about the CyberInstitute, visit

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