Mark A. Finlayson has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award to develop new artificial intelligence techniques to automatically uncover and confirm the fundamental structures underlying narrative. Using this funding, Dr. Finlayson and his students will develop new machine learning and natural language processing approaches to learning key aspects of narrative structure, developing and testing with data drawn from the domains of professional education, middle-school education, and folk culture. They will seek to apply these insights to improving minority engagement in STEM and computing in middle-school classrooms in Miami Dade County Public Schools, as well as to improving professional education (including business, medicine, and law), seeking to make computational predictions as to what approaches will be most effective in the classroom.
The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, which extends across all of the agency’s science and engineering directorates, allows promising junior faculty to pursue outstanding research and excellence in education while integrating both. Awardees have the flexibility to explore unexpected new terrain uncovered in the course of their research.
Dr. Mark Finlayson received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 2012 under the supervision of Professor Patrick H. Winston. Following that, he was a Research Scientist at MIT in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory for 2½ years. He received his S.M. in 2001 from MIT, and the B.S. in 1998 from the University of Michigan, both in Electrical Engineering. He is also the co-founder and general chair of the Computational Models of Narrative Workshop series. In addition to the NSF, Dr. FInlayson’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).