For the past nine years, M. Afzal Upal has served as senior data scientist for Canada's Department of National Defence, working closely with intelligence analysts in the Canadian Armed Forces to develop tools to support their work.
He is skilled in machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence that affords software applications more accuracy in predicting outcomes. Recent research involves leading a project to download millions of messages posted by users of various social media groups to learn about the shared beliefs of a population. The information can be used by intelligence analysts to better understand a population of interest.
He maintains extensive contacts in the data science industry and is widely published in the field. He was chair of the First International Workshop on Cognition and Culture, the 14th Annual Conference of the North American Association for Computational, Social, and Organizational Sciences and the AAAI-06 Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Agent-based Social Simulation. He has held faculty positions at a number of universities, among them Dalhousie University in Canada, University of Toledo in Ohio, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
He earned his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Punjab in Pakistan.