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Brian Solomon’s Guide To the Stars: Computer Science Professor Hany Farid

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

Hany Farid.jpgHany Farid is a professor of computer science at Dartmouth and he currently serves as chair of that department. His research concerns digital forensics, which is a highly mathematical way of analyzing images that is part CSI and part Photoshop snooper.

Farid grew up in Rochester, NY and earned his undergraduate degree in computer science and applied mathematics from the University of Rochester. He went on to get his M.S. from SUNY Albany and his Ph.D. from Penn (read his dissertation here). After a postdoctoral fellowship in brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, Farid came to Dartmouth in 1999. He also served as the Director of the College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science from 2008 to 2011.

Farid teaches both CS 1, an introduction to computing; and CS 70, an advanced course on the “Numerical and Computation Tools for Applied Science.” Also, for the first time this year, he is teaching a “Fundamentals of Web Programming” course as an adjunct at Tuck.

But Farid stand out because of his research and its immediate utility in the real world. The titles of his publications tell the tale, including, How to tell the real from the fake, Seeing Is Not Believing and Can we trust photographs? The art of faking has been around for as long as photography, as he details here.

To fight back against the fakers, Farid has developed tools that analyze lighting, shadows, and 3-D perspective to show whether photos have been manipulated or are true to the eye. Perhaps most famously, Farid proved that a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, long thought by conspiracy theorists to be fabricated, was not altered at all. He explained his work in the following Dartmouth TEDx talk from 2011:

Farid’s work has been featured in such places as The New York Times, PBS’ NOVA (around the 30 minute mark), and NPR. He has more than 10,000 individual citations and an H-Index of 48, according to Google Scholar. Plus, he’s listed as the inventor on seven patents, and he has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.

Not to be walled off in academia, Farid also started his own company, FourandSix Technologies, with a former Adobe executive. In 2014 they launched Izitru (“Is it true?”), a service that lets anyone upload a photo, subject it to forensic tests, and produce a trust rating that proves or disproves its authenticity. In addition, he has consulted for law enforcement bodies in many cases, including one in Scotland using “camera forensic and ballistic technologies to help convict a group of men who were abusing young children and distributing photos of the abuse.”

Dartblog previously wrote about Farid in 2011 and last month.

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