Ben Horne joined SIS in August 2020, and combines his background in computer sciences and information sciences to focus his research on safety in online spaces – particularly as it pertains to news and information consumption.
He hopes to help students at SIS learn computational skills they can apply to information jobs without having to have an extensive background in computation.
“This includes not only extracting rich information from data, but also interpreting that extracted information in light of both the computational method used and the applicable concepts in information science,” he said. “I am also excited to loop many timely topics into the classroom, such as misinformation and a wide variety of examples and concepts from current social media.”
Horne has a professional background in information technology, and is coming to SIS after graduating with his Ph.D. in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was also a research assistant. His bachelor’s degree is from Union University where he double majored in computer science and business administration.
One reason he wanted to work at UT is the broad opportunity to do interdisciplinary work. He plans to continue his research, which ranges from discovering disinformation tactics in news data, to analyzing the spread of conspiracy theories across online platforms. He said another reason he found SIS appealing is the diverse backgrounds of students and faculty.
“I have long thought that the best research and learning environments are highly interdisciplinary, with many different educational and cultural backgrounds having a voice,” he said.