Posted 11/13/2020  |  Back

Ricky J. Sethi, Ph.D., is originally from California, where he lived ever since he and his family emigrated from India. Never a good student but always inquisitive, Ricky was drawn to physics when a high school chemistry teacher, frustrated at his repeated queries, finally responded, "That's physics!" So he pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), where he studied Neurobiology, Physics, and English. He then went on to complete his Master's education in Physics and Business (Information Systems) at the University of Southern California (USC). At the same time, he joined a couple of startups and, after some success in industry, returned to school to complete his Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), in Computer Science, with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision. 

Subsequent to that, Ricky became a Post-Doctoral Scholar at UCR, where he was the Lead Integration Scientist for the WASA project and participated in ONR's Empire Challenge 10. He was then lucky enough to be selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF)/Computing Research Associates (CRA) as a Computing Innovation Fellow, where he worked at both the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as USC's Information Sciences Institute (ISI), where the Domain Name System (DNS) was invented at its idyllic offices located in Marina del Rey. In 2014, Ricky was offered a position as a Research Scientist at UMass Medical Center/UMass Amherst and, shortly after moving to Massachusetts, he accepted a position at Fitchburg State University (FSU) to pursue an academic career, which allowed him to combine his love of teaching and research simultaneously. 

His research projects tend to be inter-disciplinary in nature, using fundamental ideas from machine learning, computational science, and physics. His research spans the areas of Social Computing, where he works on fact-checking misinformation and virtual communities for science learning; Data Science, where he uses scientific workflows for multimedia analysis in digital humanities and reproducibility; and Computer Vision/Multimedia, where he uses physics-based methods for group analysis in video. In 2016, in conjunction with his FSU colleague, Catherine Buell, and their colleague from Bates College, William Seeley, he was fortunate to be awarded a Digital Humanities grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to study scientific workflows and visual stylometry. 

Ricky has authored or co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and reports and made numerous presentations on his research in machine learning, computer vision, social computing, and data science. He has taught various courses in Computer Science, Physics, and General Science. Ricky has also supervised/mentored undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral students at UCLA, USC, and UMass. Ricky has served as a Panelist for several NSF programs, as an Editorial Board Member for the International Journal of Computer Vision & Signal Processing, and a Program Committee member for various conferences.

Most recently, Ricky wrote a textbook, Essential Computational Thinking: Computer Science from Scratch, that follows a CS0 breadth-first approach and is most appropriate for highly-motivated undergraduates, non-CS graduate students, or non-CS professionals. His latest book project is a new research text with Frontiers in Big Data on "Identifying, Tracking, and Fact-Checking Misinformation," where he is collaborating with leading scientists in the area of fact-checking misinformation, including Md. Atiqur Rahman Ahad (Osaka University), Onur Varol (Sabancı University), and Prashant Shiralkar (Amazon). His next book project will be entitled, "Data Science, The Easy Way," and will be situated in the magical land of Carmorra, first discovered by Douglas Downing!

Be sure to stop by the Faculty Spotlight display near the Library entrance next time you visit us in person. To explore more of the amazing research and scholarship produced by Fitchburg State faculty, check out our Faculty Publications guide here: