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Notre Dame computer science professor Tim Weninger presents Hesburgh Lecture April 11

Last updated March 29, 2019

By Tina Underwood

Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Tim Weninger will speak on the campus of Furman University Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in Daniel Memorial Chapel. A reception with Weninger follows in the Bryan Garden Room of the Chapel.

Tim Weninger

Notre Dame Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Tim Weninger

His talk, “Fact, Fiction, and the Newsfeed: Artificial Promotion and the Attention Economy,” is free and open to the public, and is this year’s Hesburgh Lecture presented by the Furman Office of Spiritual Life in partnership with the Notre Dame Club of the Western Carolinas and Furman’s Catholic Campus Ministry.

Increasingly, people rely on social media as their primary source of news and information. Websites employ a system by which their readers may register likes or dislikes of the newsfeeds which, in turn, plays a significant role in determining what is considered to be popular or trending. These types of collective rating systems can be easily abused by malicious groups using rating spam.

In his talk, Weninger will discuss the mechanisms that drive this misconduct, and the recent work that may lead to more reliable social rating systems. “It is critical that we understand the dynamics of how social rating systems curate the media that we all see and hear in our daily lives,” said Weninger.

Weninger has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers on the intersection of machine learning, network science and social media.

His work is funded through grants from the US National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, DARPA, the Templeton Foundation via the University of Chicago, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 2018, he received the Computer Science and Engineering Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from the University of Notre Dame.

Weninger holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Kansas State University in computer science and information systems, respectively.

Established in 1986, the Hesburgh Lecture Series aims to encourage intellectual dialogue between alumni, community members and the distinguished faculty of Furman’s sister university, Notre Dame. Each year, Notre Dame faculty members deliver more than 200 presentations around the world. The series is named for Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame.

For more information, contact Susan Bennett, Furman Office of Spiritual Life, at 864-294-2133, and Or contact the News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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