iDISPLA Announces University Adversarial Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning Challenge Winners
University of Virginia, Penn State & Bowie State teams' winning proposals to detect 'Deep Fakes'.

Press Release   |  March 24, 2021

Richmond, Virginia, March 24, 2021 -- iDISPLA (Innovative Discovery Science Platform), Army C5ISR Center Night Vision and Electronic Sensor Directorate (NVESD) and The Greer Institute for Leadership and Innovation (Greer Institute) announced the winners of the recent University Adversarial Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML) Challenge. The winners are 1st Place - University of Virginia; 2nd Place - Pennsylvania State University; 3rd Place - Bowie State University.

University students from around the country were invited to participate in the challenge which was focused on leveling the digital imagery playing field by developing technologies for the automated assessment of the integrity of an image or video and integrating these in an end-to-end media forensics platform. Eight universities participated and were challenged to devise a method of detecting the manipulation of digital media or "deep fakes" and provide suggested ways of reducing the risk of such manipulation in the future. The other participating university teams included Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, University of California Davis, Old Dominion University and University of Florida.

The challenge was sponsored by The Greer Institute and ran from January 19th through February 1st. Several prominent members of the AI and ML technology communities volunteered to serve on the panel of judges for this challenge including Mr. Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia; Dr. Chakib Chraibi, Chief Data Scientist, Office of Data Services, National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Department of Commerce; Dr. Prithviraj (Raj) Dasgupta, Research Scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory (Adversarial AI, machine learning and game playing AI); Mr. Will Stewart, Director (acting) AI Pilots, National Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII), Department of Veterans Affairs; Mr. Steve Debreceny, Chief Technology Officer, Concepts Development & Management, Secretary of the Air Force/CDM; Mr. David Ihrie, Chief Technology Officer, Center for Innovative Technology; Dr. David Bray, Director, Atlantic Council's GeoTech Center; Mr. Ken Farber, AI/ML Solution Architect, TekSynap; Dr. Malio West, CEO of a SDVOB/HubZone company (Global Accounting).

In addition to prize earnings, each finalist university presented their solution to Dr. Nibir Dhar, the Chief Scientist for Science and Technology at NVESD; Mr. Melvin Greer, founder of The Greer Institute nonprofit and head of AI for Intel Corporation; and other AI challenge judge panel members.

Mr. Greer explained the origin of the challenge. "The rise in access to digital imagery has resulted in the ability for even relatively unskilled users to easily manipulate and distort the message of digital media. This type of digital manipulation is often used for adversarial purposes, such as propaganda or misinformation campaigns and is enabled by the wide scale availability of adversarial machine learning algorithms or generative adversarial networks (GANS) that permit editing in ways that are very difficult to detect either visually or with current image analysis and visual media forensics tools."

"In addition to specific U.S. Army imaging/video concerns," added Dr. Dhar, "there are a wide variety of misinformation/disinformation use cases that can also be directly relevant to COVID-19 and other campaigns designed to mislead and endanger U.S. Citizens."

iDISPLA and its partner companies hope that the outcomes of this challenge will contribute to an important response to deep fake technologies that exist today and directly impact our National Security posture. Technology Landscaping features in the iDISPLA platform will be used to discover current work in this area and the corresponding global locations of where it is occurring around the world. Winning solution concepts will be correlated against other state of practice capabilities across the world.

About iDISPLA:
The Innovative Discovery Science Platform (iDISPLA) ( is the U.S. Army C5ISR Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate's (NVESD) initiative in Virginia with an aim to expand nationwide. It addresses technology challenges that are important to the future of the Army and has applications for commercial sectors. The iDISPLA project is the first unclassified, citizen-enabled, insights/data-driven, integrated technology innovation platform that incorporates multiple components into one virtual environment including: education, research, partnership, workforce development, talent management and innovation.
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