Po-Han Chen, Master’s student in the Department of Computer Science
Graphic is from the paper “RISECURE: Metro Incidents And Threat Detection Using Social Media”

Po-Han Chen, a master’s degree student in computer science, was on the research team for the paper, “RISECURE: Metro Incidents And Threat Detection Using Social Media,” that appeared in the proceedings of the 2020 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM) held virtually in December.

The team, which included his advisor Chang-Tien Lu, collaborated with the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to employ an open source system, RISECURE that uses real-time social media mining to aid in the early detection of existing or potential criminal activity within a rail-based/metro system. The system leverages a dynamic query expansion algorithm to keep track of any new emerging information about any particular incident.

In undertaking this research, the team found that existing forms of threat or event detection for rail-based transit systems either do not work in real-time or do not provide complete coverage.

Using social media, which is an area of particular interest to Chen, provides faster access to data that can create beneficial applications.

“This project is a good example of what I like best about being a student at the Sanghani Center — the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations on research which aims to solve real-world problems,” said Chen, who said he was attracted to Virginia Tech and the center because of its work in tackling challenging issues in several fields, including security, sustainability, and public health.

Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Yuan-Ze University, Taiwan. He is projected to graduate in 2021 and his goal is to be in a position where he can continue to create useful applications by analyzing large amounts of information.