William Simpson joins ARLIS as a Faculty Research Specialist with experience in data science, machine learning, natural language processing, and linguistics. Prior to joining ARLIS, William worked as a Data Science and Information Management Intern with the United Nations Development Programme analyzing social media and international news data for crisis prevention and response. He was responsible for building data collection and analysis pipelines for UN Country Offices, including a pilot machine learning tool to predict election related violence from news content.
William has also completed internships in the fields of counter-disinformation and counterterrorism. He previously worked as a Graduate Research Intern with the US Department of State’s Global Engagement Center in its Academic and Think Tank Outreach Unit. In this role, William contributed to the tracking of academic and think tank research pertaining to Chinese and Russian disinformation, including the COVID-19 crisis and China’s response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. He supported the production of monthly newsletters reporting relevant findings to a community of over 700 US and international governmental partners. While interning at UMD’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), William conducted analysis on the risk of chemical weapon adoption by countries such as North Korea, Russia, and Iran to evaluate security threats. William holds a Master’s degree in Data Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Bachelor’s in Linguistics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has completed coursework at Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu, China. Under a US State Department Critical Language Scholarship, he also studied at Lobachevsky State University, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. William speaks Mandarin, Russian, and French.