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Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Paul Dourish has received nearly $195,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project, “Representational Materialities of Internet Protocols.” The two-year project will study the Internet as a historically and geographically specific object, helping to contribute to the emerging field of software studies. It will “study the material properties and consequences of the way that bits are arranged in wires, data structures are organized on disks, databases are arranged to support specific kinds of operations, and textual and graphical representations are designed for human visual and cognitive processing,” according to its abstract. Ultimately, the project is very multidisciplinary, bringing together technologists, social scientists, policymakers and regulators to “speak to public concerns and policies over internet regulation and network neutrality,” the abstract says.

The NSF awards the project under the Social and Economic Sciences Division (SES), which “seeks to enhance our understanding of human, social and organizational behavior by building social science infrastructure, by developing social disciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects that advance knowledge in the social and economic sciences,” according to the SES website.