Mark-Finlayson-fiu-college-engineering-computingCongratulations to Mark Finlayson, Eminent Scholar chaired associate professor of computer science at FIU‘s Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences, for receiving the 2021 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA).

The objective of the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) program is to identify and engage rising stars in junior research positions, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding, and expose them to DoD needs and DARPA’s program development process.

The YFA program provides funding, mentoring and industry and DoD contacts to awardees early in their careers so they may develop their research ideas in the context of national security needs. The long-term goal of the YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will focus a significant portion of their career on DoD and National Security issues.

Dr. Finlayson will receive a total of $471,691 from DARPA to develop syntheses, analyses and implementations of interdisciplinary approaches to narrative, to assist in better understanding mis- and disinformation campaigns. In particular, the project will be tailored to support computational approaches, laying a foundation for automatic, artificial-intelligence-based techniques for detecting and mitigating malign influence operations.

Finlayson focuses on developing artificial intelligence techniques for representing, extracting and using semantic patterns in natural language, primarily concentrating on narrative. He directs the Cognac Lab (The Cognition, Language, and Culture Laboratory) and became an NSF CAREER awardee in 2018. In 2019, he was honored with the IBM Faculty Award and named the Edison Fellow for AI at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. While at FIU, his work has been funded by the NSF, NIH, ONR, DARPA, DHS and IBM.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Finlayson on this outstanding achievement.