FSU Computer Science Faculty Named Funded Collaborator with NC State Lab on AI Research Applied to Problems in National Security

Date: January 25, 2024

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (January 25) – A Fayetteville State University computer science faculty member is collaborating with the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) at NC State University for research on artificial intelligence to enhance national security announced on Jan. 11.

Dr. Sambit Bhattacharya

For the second consecutive year, Sambit Bhattacharya, Ph.D., professor of computer science and director of the Intelligent Systems Lab (ISL), is one of 22 funded collaborators, representing 11 academic institutions and six industry partners conducting research projects with the LAS. His project aims to create AI software to detect rare and uncommon objects in video, which will serve the needs of the National Security Agency.

“National security problems are complex and multifaceted, offering a rich ground for intellectual challenge and innovation in AI,” said Bhattacharya. “Students are often drawn to the cutting-edge nature of AI research, and those with a natural inclination towards technology and AI find the application to national security particularly engaging.”

Creating this type of AI technology requires collecting data on rare, uncommon objects of concern to national security which are then used to train the AI to detect these objects in new or previously unseen video. Bhattacharya is an expert in creating synthetic data that aids in the AI learning process.

Students working in the ISL assist Bhattacharya and LAS, including the NSA scientist working there. With support from the U.S. Department of Defense as prime funding agency, FSU students receive stipends for their contributions.

“Our research is impactful for both students and the university as a whole because of the combination of technological challenge, societal impact, and professional growth opportunities for students and faculty,” said Bhattacharya. “The increasing integration of AI in national security has created numerous career opportunities and among ISL student researchers who have worked on this collaboration, three have been hired by NSA with Top Secret clearance, and several others are being considered for internships with the same level of clearance.”

Joining the funded research projects last year, led to the NSA Director of Research visiting FSU in April 2023.

Bhattacharya’s partnership with LAS began in 2021, when he was invited to advise computer science students on senior design projects. During this collaboration, he worked with students and the LAS team to research a concept to devise the first phase of a rendering engine that leverages Cycle Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to generate synthetic data on rare/uncommon objects to improve the robustness of computer vision models for object detection.

The Laboratory for Analytic Sciences is a partnership between the intelligence community and North Carolina State University that develops innovative technology and tradecraft to help solve mission-relevant problems. Founded in 2013 by the National Security Agency and NC State, each year LAS brings together collaborators from three sectors – industry, academia, and government – to conduct research that has a direct impact on national security.

See a full list of the 2024 collaborators here: LAS Announces 2024 Collaborators.

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