Dr. Nitin Agarwal awarded four research grants

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin Agarwal

Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair Professor in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, received four research grants this summer, totaling almost $2.5 million.

Less than a year ago, the National Science Foundation announced its plan to fund four regional hubs focused on data science innovation led by different research universities. Ten “Big Data Spokes” projects would receive funds based on the importance of their research according to the foundation.

Agarwal, leader of the UALR research team which is included in one of the 10 spokes, was awarded a $1 million grant for the team’s research project of “Large-scale Medical Informatics for Patient Care Coordination and Engagement.” The focus of the project is to investigate how the use of data from different sources, such as fitness trackers and environmental monitors, improve patient care. The project’s first pilot will focus on African-Americans and Latinos diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

The second grant received was awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for $1 million. Agarwal’s project, “A Socio-computational Model for ‘Social Bot’ Detection: Understanding tactical and strategic information maneuvers through social media to advance cyber operations,” focuses on the bot’s model, effectiveness, content and discourse. It is Agarwal’s goal to develop a social science theory-driven algorithm for detecting botnets engaged in interconnected propaganda campaigns.

The third project,“Analyzing Integrated Social Media-Facilitated Propaganda Campaigns using Social Network Analysis and Cyber Forensics,” seeks to develop capabilities to support U.S. Naval and Military operations by developing socio-computational models that increase understanding of the cyber campaigns. This project was awarded $190,000 by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Agarwal’s final project, “Towards Predictive Modeling Deviant Cyber Flash Mobs: A Socio-Informatics Driven Hypergraph Framework,” was awarded $300,000 by the U.S. Army Research Office. This project strives to advance researcher’s understanding of Deviant Cyber Flash Mob behavior. With the increase of this behavior among hacktivists and hacker groups, media coverage has been prevalent, but investigation into the cause has been lacking. Agarwal plans to use a three-phased research effort to address the objectives of the study.

For more information on Agarwal’s research interests, visit his website.

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