Less than three years into her professional career, Amy Stringfellow has been awarded the Australian Defence Magazine Women in Defence rising star award for her achievements in Defence science.
A budding cyber researcher with Defence, Ms Stringfellow is researching and developing next-generation technologies that will enable the ADF to execute missions in contested cyber environments.
“Our particular work program is aimed at informing decision-making,” Ms Stringfellow said.
“We are interested in providing military commanders with a clear, timely understanding of their cyber dependencies and how that impacts their missions.
“By automatically mapping mission-critical workflows undertaken by warfighters to the underlying cyber assets, commanders and their network defenders can prioritise the defence of their networks and systems.”
One of the major breakthroughs from the work she's been doing has been a world-leading, proof-of-concept experimental system that uses natural language information flows such as emails, chat logs and working documents to identify and chart complex military processes without human assistance.
This is a critical capability for automatically identifying how military missions depend on critical cyber resources.
Ms Stringfellow conceived and co-authored the innovative machine-assisted web-based application that enables the rapid labelling of a large body of military natural language documents, producing data sets that are essential for training and testing the team’s machine learning algorithms.
We are interested in providing military commanders with a clear, timely understanding of their cyber dependencies and how that impacts their missions.
She also researched, coded and conducted experiments on machine learning pipelines used to analyse the data.
Cyber-mission mapping is of interest to militaries around the world and Ms Stringfellow and her team are working closely with cyber experts from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratories in Boston and US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.
Ms Stringfellow said she relished the opportunity to work with her international peers.
“It’s not common when you first start working to have that level of international engagement,” she said.
“It’s been really eye-opening and interesting.”
Ms Stringfellow said her award was encouraging, but said it was very much a team effort.
“It’s really nice for the work of the team to be recognised,” she said.
“It’s all about what we’ve managed to achieve together.”
In addition to her research, Ms Stringfellow is a role model and champion of STEM careers in Defence, particularly for girls and young women.
As to what the future holds, Ms Stringfellow said she wanted to continue to work on interesting things.
“I just keep following what I find challenging and engaging. I also want my work to provide a valuable contribution to society and help better Australia,” she said.