CSE's Revesz Reflects on Year as Jefferson Fellow
Peter Revesz, a professor of Computer Science and Engineering, was the first UNL faculty member to earn a competitive U.S. Department of State/U.S. Agency for International Development Jefferson Science Fellowship. As a Jefferson Fellow, he served in Washington, D.C., and abroad, helping assess if everyday technologies can be weaponized and strengthening international export control policies.
"I was an adviser for two offices within the State Department," Revesz said. "One was the Office of Export Controls Cooperation. The other was the Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction."
For the Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction, Revesz helped review whether products available commercially could also be used as weapons. His focus was assessing software, particularly if it could be used to make autonomous moving vehicles.
With the Office of Export Controls Cooperation,
Revesz applied his expertise in databases. The office is a border security program that partners with more than 60 nations to develop export regulations and enforcement capabilities. It works to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to meet international guidelines set by the United Nations.
As a part of the ECC assignment, Revesz gave database management presentations in Ukraine and Kenya.
"I met with customs officials and gave them a short course on database creation and data mining techniques," Revesz said. "Basically, I showed them how to search for and identify irregular patterns and assess the danger of illegal shipments."
Revesz returned to UNL in August. This semester, he is incorporating knowledge from the fellowship into his teaching. He also plans to add a chapter on the experience into textbooks he has authored.
Jefferson Science Fellows are selected by the National Academies — National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. The Jefferson Fellows work as consultants for one year in Washington, D.C., or in a foreign embassy or mission, and can be called back as a consultant for up to five years.
UNL added its second Jefferson Science Fellow this year when Curt Weller, professor of biological systems engineering, was selected to participate. His assignment started Aug. 15, drawing on Weller's interest in cereal grain research and use, industry experience and familiarity with food and bioproducts for food and water security issues.
- Troy Fedderson