Research Fellow, School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University
Dr Alistair Baron is currently a Faculty of Science and Technology Research Fellow under the Security Lancaster research centre. He is based in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University.
His main research area is Natural Language Processing (NLP), with a particular focus on dealing with the difficulties arising from noisy unstructured text. During his current research fellowship he will be conducting research involving using NLP techniques in a cyber-security setting, bringing cutting-edge NLP research into real-word security applications. He will be primarily focused on developing solutions for problems associated with online communities (bulletin boards, forums), social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and instant messaging services (Skype, MSN). This will involve, for example, developing deception and multiple personae detection techniques to assist in countering the use of fake profiles, e.g. adults masquerading as children for the purposes of grooming. The characteristics of online texts, e.g. the abundance of irregular language and its multi-lingual nature, pose significant barriers to many NLP methods, which mainly rely on standard (English) written texts. A primary concern of his research is building robust NLP tools, which are able to cope with, and take advantage of, these features of online data.
Dr Baron holds a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science (Lancaster University, 2006) and a PhD in Computer Science (Lancaster University, 2011). He has held several research posts on a variety of projects in the areas of natural language processing (dealing with noisy unstructured text, content analysis, text classification and machine learning) and security (online child protection and the language of extremism).