Electrical and Computer Engineering Researcher Receives U-LINK Funding for Proposal Addressing Online Extremism, Hate Speech

Kamal Premaratne, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Manohar Murthi, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received funding from the University of Miami’s Laboratory for Integrative Knowledge (U-LINK) for their involvement in a proposal entitled “Systems Approach to Controlling the Online Rise of Extremism” (SCORE).

U-LINK is a university-wide platform for incubating ideas, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and providing funding to facilitate new approaches to difficult problems. U-LINK invites interdisciplinary groups to seek funding for novel, solution-oriented projects.

Combining the know-how of nine faculty members from eight disciplines across four schools and colleges, SCORE, led by Professor Neil Johnson from physics, aims to address the rapid rise of online extremism and hate-speech. Premaratne’s and Murthi’s team will cover aspects of the engineering and computing side of the research project.

SCORE will provide a fundamentally new and comprehensive understanding of how extremism develops online across platforms, target groups and languages from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The research will be focusing on narratives and content, as opposed to just numbers, and targeting the wide range of extremist hate groups and hate-speech forums across U.S. social media outlets.

Ultimately, SCORE will be able to unify our understanding of online extremism across the entire spectrum of topics across the globe (e.g. racial supremacy, religious, anti-women, etc.) and suggest technological, social and legal avenues to control and curb the impact of such extreme online forces.

The project is relevant to several of the themes in UM’s Roadmap to Our New Century Initiatives: the issue of belonging; health and wellness, and the future of our cities and communities; and applying the potential of big data to global issues.

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