The Lab: Research from UCR and the UC system

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UCR Today

Young people are more prone to bad financial decisions than older people, according to a recent study conducted by Assistant Professor Ye Li and his colleagues at UC Riverside’s School of Business Administration (SoBA).

Conducted over the course of about a year, the study involved asking 336 people — ranging from ages 18-82 — about their financial decisions.

“What the research suggests is that young people need more ample financial knowledge. When they get their first credit card, they don’t really understand what it means to borrow from a credit card and not pay it back right away,” said Li. “They may have the smarts but don’t necessarily have the experience to recognize a good financial decision from a bad one.”

The study goes on to suggest that older people are more debt-literate and therefore, more prone to positive financial decision-making. This was due in part to the greater accumulation of crystallized intelligence, or conventional wisdom and life experience that older people exhibited.

Li says a solution to this problem requires young people to be more actively aware of the financial decisions they make and take a cue from their older counterparts in the financial realm. He explains that “older does not always mean wiser,” but in relation to the data, older means slightly less loss-averse and much more financially stable.

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Computer Chip

UCR: Professors collaborate to strengthen cyber defense

Collaborative Research Alliance, a partnership between UCR and five different universities across the nation, received $23 million to identify potential threats to cyber security, create a stronger defense system against them and develop virtual models to predict the behaviors of both defenders and attackers.

Led by Professors Srikanth Krishnamurthy, Iulian Neamtiu and Harsha Madhyastha, the UCR team will receive a total of $3.7 million out of the $23 million. The team will work on a project that focuses on “a convergence of different parts of computer science like networking security, software engineering (and) programming languages,” according to Professor Krishnamurthy. “We try to bring all these research areas together to make sure that the security is as comprehensive as it can be.”

The team will also study how humans use computers and what leaves them vulnerable to cyber attacks. Professor Krishnamurthy cautions students against giving away social security numbers or opening emails from unknown addresses. He hopes to create better interfaces and warning systems that allow humans to make fewer errors in the long run.

Seventeen faculty members and over 30 graduate students from among five universities, which include Pennsylvania State University, UC Davis, Carnegie Mellon University and Indiana University, will collaborate on the effort.

 

UCR: Researcher seeks to improve scientific simulation data

Eighteen faculty members from the Bourns College of Engineering received a total of $9.6 million in grants from federal agencies to pursue the project of their interests. Tamar Shinar, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, is one of the faculty members who have been selected.

Shinar’s research involves developing physics-based simulation, which may help her to one day program robots to accurately identify and safely navigate terrain to aid humans in disaster relief.

Her project, “Coupling Simulation and Mesh Generation using Computational Topology,” is a collaborative effort with faculty from the University of Utah that seeks to make simulations more efficient and accurate by analyzing generated and computational data.

 

“The average person is affected by simulation in a broad range of applications, from game physics to weather prediction,” says Dr. Shinar. “This project will enable more efficient computations leading to higher quality results in such applications and new classes of problems that can be tackled.”

 

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