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Sorting truth from fiction on the interweb

Sorting truth from fiction on the interweb

 Professor Michael Sheng

Full article issued by Macquarie University.

Professor Michael Sheng, who heads the Department of Computing at Macquarie University, is leading an ARC Discovery Project with partners in Austria, China and the USA, that will develop innovative techniques to find truthful information amid the inherently unreliable web environment.

The project will develop new techniques and algorithms that can be used behind the scenes on the web, so that search engines and other internet services can improve the reliability of the information that people access.

“Finding ways to identify valid information among the misinformation on the internet is widely thought to be a grand challenge for the next decade,” says Professor Sheng.

The researchers say that false information online has resulted in considerable damage and public panic. One example is the infamous 'asteroid hoax' which claimed that an asteroid would impact the Earth in September 2015. There are now more than 425,000 online sources about the hoax.

Professor Sheng says that the research team will work to develop techniques for truth discovery in situations where a single item has multiple true statements. Previous attempts to build truth discovery programs have used iterative procedures (or repeating the process over and over) to identify truthful web sources, but that method is too inefficient and not practical to apply to the large-scale web environment, he adds.

His team is working on new techniques that group together different sources that claim the same set of values. “This is a more efficient way to reduce the scale of the problem,” he explains.


 Professor Michael Sheng. Image Credit: Macquarie University.

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