By TOM DINKI
Published January 10, 2023
Siwei Lyu, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and one of the world’s leading experts on deepfakes, has been named a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
The world’s largest computing society, ACM recognizes up to 10% of its worldwide membership as distinguished members for their significant accomplishments in the field of computing. This year’s 67 inductees work at leading universities, corporations and research institutions in 16 different countries, and have made advancements in such areas as cybersecurity, software engineering and computer science education.
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen as one of this year’s ACM distinguished members,” Lyu says. “It is an exciting recognition of my research contributions and career up to this point.”
Lyu has made significant contributions to combating misinformation and disinformation online. His research focuses on media forensics, and detecting and mitigating manipulated or fabricated digital media like photos and videos.
Lyu is director of UB’s Media Forensics Lab and founding co-director of the university’s Center for Information Integrity, which was launched this year to accelerate the university’s multidisciplinary research on disinformation. Lyu and other researchers affiliated with the center are leading a $5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) project to create digital tools that help older adults better recognize and protect themselves from online scams and other disinformation.
While serving on the faculty at the University at Albany in 2018, Lyu developed the first algorithm for detecting synthetic videos of human faces made with artificial intelligence, known as deepfakes. His method determines whether videos are fake based on a lack of realistic blinking.
Lyu has become frequently consulted expert on deepfakes and other manipulated media, authoring several of the most-cited works in this area, Congress, and speaking extensively by prominent media outlets like CNN, BBC and The Washington Post.
“Since joining us in 2020, Siwei has enhanced our department’s national reputation as a source for detecting and mitigating disinformation and misinformation online,” says Jinhui Xu, professor and chair of CSE. “His work is at the cutting edge of a field that has large ramifications for ensuring that everyone has equal access to accurate information.”
The ACM distinguished member honor caps off a year of recognition for Lyu. He was named a fellow of both the International Association for Pattern Recognition and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) earlier this year. He also is the recipient of an IEEE Region 1 Technological Innovation (Academic) Award, a Google Faculty Research Award, a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and an NSF CAREER Award.
Lyu’s current research focuses on how to expose deepfakes that are generated in real time and could be used to impersonate participants in Zoom meetings.
“The proliferation of misinformation in our information ecosystem erodes our trust in online information,” he says. “It will take a combined effort from academics, researchers, government agencies, social media companies, public media and every online user to address this complex problem.”