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College of Science & Engineering



Ze-Li Dou, associate professor in TCU’s mathematics department, Curby Alexander, associate professor of professional practice, and Liran Ma, professor of computer science, have been awarded a $220,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in recognition of their research and commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and education in the areas of deep learning security. Deep learning is a method in artificial intelligence (AI) that teaches computers to process data in a way that is inspired by the human brain. This achievement reaffirms their dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation and making a meaningful impact in their fields.

Many deep learning models contain hidden weaknesses that could be exploited by attacks, posing significant risks to user privacy and safety. It is essential, therefore, to raise security awareness among college students, who are the future data engineering practitioners, and equip them with knowledge and strategies for designing trustworthy, deep learning based applications. This project responds to the urgent need in three critical areas: integrity, confidentiality and equity (ICE). The investigators are especially mindful of the needs of minority and socio-economically disadvantaged student populations.

The NSF grant will provide invaluable support for ongoing research projects and enable them to explore new avenues of discovery. This funding will also foster collaboration and empower TCU’s talented researchers and students to make important contributions to their respective disciplines.

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories. It was established in 1950 by Congress to:

  • Promote the progress of science.
  • Advance the national health, prosperity and welfare.
  • Secure the national defense.

Its investments account for about 25% of federal support to America's colleges and universities for basic research: research driven by curiosity and discovery. It also supports solutions-oriented research with the potential to produce advancements for the American people.

Learn more about TCU’s Mathematics and Computer Science departments, as well as the National Science Foundation.

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