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ISE Graduate Seminar

Explainable AI Systems – a BN/MEBN approach to Mission Critical Decision Support Systems

Dr. Paul Costa
Associate Professor of Systems Engineering & Operations Research
Associate Professor of Cyber Security Engineering
George Mason University


The success of AI-based decision support systems is often largely contingent on how much the decision maker has confidence in its recommendations. Especially in mission-critical systems (e.g. those involving risk of life), decision makers would only trust what the system is telling them to do if they can understand the process by which the system arrived to its conclusions. A natural way of expressing this process is via visual explanations of the presented results, which in the vast majority of cases must be done without assuming the decision maker is conversant in the techniques and algorithms used by the system. Unfortunately, the underlying models in such systems are not easy to understand and can be sometimes counter-intuitive for humans, becoming hard to interpret and explore. Explainable AI systems aim at allowing users to effectively understand, trust, and operate the models. This presentation will cover a recognizable model for qualitatively displaying probabilistic information is the Bayesian Network (BN) that is currently in development under a DARPA project. The technique provides a graphical visualization of quantitative beliefs about the conditional dependence and independence among random variables. Also in this session, I will be providing an overview of the research topics I am currently involved with, including Cybersecurity of advanced manufacturing and supply chain networks, as well as the evaluation of uncertainty in cybersecurity systems.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Paulo Costa has a dual tenure as Associate Professor of Systems Engineering and Operations Research and as Associate Professor of Cyber Security Engineering. He is the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Research of the Cyber Security Engineering Department and Director of the C4I & Cyber Center at George Mason University. Outside Mason, he works as Vice President for Securing Automation and Supply Chain Security with the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), San Antonio, TX. His teaching and research interests comprise the areas of probabilistic ontologies, multi-sensor information fusion, systems design and integration, cyber security, predictive analysis, and decisionsupport systems. He has extensive experience in requirements engineering for complex systems, steeming from his career as a former fighter pilot with more than 2000 hours in different fighters and as a program manager for the Brazilian Air Force Chiefs-of-staff. He has published more than 170 peer-reviewed publications and has an extensive academic service that includes many conference and journal technical and editorial committees. Dr. Costa is a former President of the International Society for Information Fusion (ISIF – tenures 2019 and 2020) and currently servesi n its Board of Directors. He is also an IEEE Senior Member (2013), a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems, and of the International Council of Systems Engineering.

Dial-In Information

Friday, September 24 at 3:30pm to 4:20pm

John D. Tickle Engineering Building, 410
851 Neyland Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations




Current Students, Faculty & Staff




Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Name

Yvette M Gooden

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