Funding, Grants & Awards

Penn State Researcher Developing Educational Tools To Help Fight Digital Piracy

Vishal Monga, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University, is working on a method of analyzing images, audio files, videos and documents to prevent piracy, and he plans to develop a video game to help his students test piracy methods in an effort to combat the illegal online activity.

Monga received a five-year grant worth $500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the endeavor. His project, "CAREER: Optimization Based Methods for Robust Pattern Recognition in Time-Series Data," involves using theory and algorithms to analyze images, audio files, video files, financial records and health care records to prevent piracy of those files. More specifically, he will use "convex optimization theory and algorithms in signal and image processing in image classification and recognition, computational imaging and robust signal hashing," according to information from Penn State.

According to Monga, it's difficult to catch digital pirates online. "The proposed research enables them to be caught," he said in a prepared statement. "If Sony or Columbia Pictures suspect their video has been illegally uploaded, this will help them find out who uploaded it and put a stop to it."

Monga will partner with Penn State's Educational Gaming Commons to develop a video game for his students. According to Monga, the game will let his students "see how the algorithms they're working on can be applied to real-world applications." From there, Monga and his students will integrate the ideas in their research to help fight piracy.

Monga's research interests include convex optimization methods in imaging, image processing and signal/image classification. He was granted the award through the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), which supports junior faculty who conduct outstanding research and demonstrate excellence in teaching and successfully integrate both.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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