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PhD student named best speaker in Research Spotlight competition

Anna Vartapetiance won the top speaker prize at the annual London Hopper Colloquium for her presentation on online deception detection.

Anna Vartapetiance (left) receives her prize from Dr Ivana Drobnjak, UCL Computer Science

A PhD student in the Computing Department, Anna won the prize after presenting her research on authorship attribution and deception detection at the tenth London Hopper Colloquium – an annual conference and networking event for women in computer science.

The Research Spotlight is an open competition organised annually by UCL Computer Science, co-sponsored by IBM and the British Computer Society (BCS), the chartered institute for IT. The competition aims to provide female research students and postdoctoral researchers with a friendly forum for communicating their work via a four-minute presentation to their peers.

Based on her PhD research, which is supervised by Dr Lee Gillam, Anna’s presentation addressed the challenge of revealing authors who are attempting to hide their real identities. She hopes this work could lead, in the near future, to the development of systems capable of addressing one of the most menacing problems that exist in the online world: tracking down unsavoury characters such as internet trolls.

“We have explored various kinds of deception and possibilities for their detection, and attempted to develop software which embodies simple and readily explained principles,” explained Anna. “To be suitable for use in supporting prosecutions of fraud or predatory behaviours, it’s also important that the approach isn’t biased towards any given set of data and assumptions.”

One of twelve speakers shortlisted, Anna presented her research at the London Hopper Colloquium on 22 May at the BCS headquarters in London. As winner of the top speaker accolade, she received a cash prize, an invitation to speak at next year’s London Hopper and a year’s membership of BCS.

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