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The Faculty of Computer Science was created with the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading faculties for developers and researchers in data analysis, machine learning, big data, theoretical computer science, bioinformatics, system and software engineering, system programming, and distributed computing. In cooperation with major companies like Yandex, Sberbank, SAS, Samsung, 1C, and many others, the Faculty provides both deep theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience in many branches of contemporary computer science.
The rise of social media has democratized content creation and has made it easy for anybody to share and to spread information online. On the positive side, this has given rise to citizen journalism, thus enabling much faster dissemination of information compared to what was possible with newspapers, radio, and TV. On the negative side, stripping traditional media from their gate-keeping role has left the public unprotected against the spread of disinformation, which could now travel at breaking-news speed over the same democratic channel. This situation gave rise to the proliferation of false information specifically created to affect individual people's beliefs, and ultimately to influence major events such as political elections; it also set the dawn of the Post-Truth Era, where appeal to emotions has become more important than the truth. More recently, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new blending of medical and political misinformation and disinformation has given rise to the first global infodemic. Limiting the impact of these negative developments has become a major focus for journalists, social media companies, and regulatory authorities.
The course offers an overview of the emerging and inter-connected research areas of fact-checking, misinformation, disinformation, ``fake news'', propaganda, and media bias detection, with focus on text and on computational approaches. It further explores the general fact-checking pipeline and important elements thereof such as check-worthiness estimation, spotting previous fact-checked claims, stance detection, source reliability estimation, and detecting malicious users in social media. We will also covers some recent developments such as the emergence of large-scale pre-trained language models and the ongoing COVID-19 Infodemic.
Keywords: "Fake News", Disinformation, Misinformation, Propaganda, Fact-Checking, Stance Detection, Media Bias, Check-worthiness, Veracity, Credibility, Rumor and Clickbait Detection, Source Reliability Estimation, Bots, Trolls, Seminar Users, Deep Fakes, COVID-19 Infodemic.
Dates: April 8, 15, 22, and 29.
Bio: Dr. Preslav Nakov is a Principal Scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), HBKU, where he leads the Tanbih mega-project (developed in collaboration with MIT), which aims to limit the effect of "fake news", propaganda and media bias by making users aware of what they are reading, thus promoting media literacy and critical thinking. He received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, supported by a Fulbright grant. Dr. Preslav Nakov is President of ACL SIGLEX, Secretary of ACL SIGSLAV, and a member of the EACL advisory board. He is also member of the editorial board of a number of journals including Computational Linguistics, TACL, CS&L, NLE, AI Communications, and Frontiers in AI. He authored a Morgan & Claypool book on Semantic Relations between Nominals and two books on computer algorithms. He published 250+ research papers, and he was named among the top 2% of the world's most-cited in the career achievement category, part of a global list compiled by Stanford University. He received a Best Long Paper Award at CIKM'2020, a Best Demo Paper Award (Honorable Mention) at ACL'2020, a Best Task Paper Award (Honorable Mention) at SemEval'2020, a Best Poster Award at SocInfo'2019, and the Young Researcher Award at RANLP’2011. He was also the first to receive the Bulgarian President's John Atanasoff award, named after the inventor of the first automatic electronic digital computer. Dr. Nakov served on the program committees (PC) of the major conferences in Computational Linguistics, including as a PC chair of ACL-2022 and TTO-2020, and a chair of SemEval. Dr. Nakov's research was featured by over 100 news outlets, including Forbes, Boston Globe, Aljazeera, DefenseOne, Business Insider, MIT Technology Review, Science Daily, Popular Science, Fast Company, The Register, WIRED, and Engadget, among others.
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