Dr. Upal is a computer scientist with expertise in data science, artificial intelligence, and cyber analytics. His most significant contributions include : (1) a marketing technique (called Aha ad design) that can be used to design effective advertisements; (2) a machine learning technique for predicting popularity of social media messages (likes/shares); (3) the social identity entrepreneurship (SIE) model which explains how leaders develop and market ideas of social change; (4) development of the new field of science called "cognitive science of new religious movements" which explains the development of new religious movements

He serves on program committees of numerous international conferences including the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, the International Conference of the Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society (FLAIRS), the Canadian AI Conference, and the IASTED International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing. He was chair of the First International Workshop on Cognition and Culture, the 14th Annual Conference of the North American Association for Computational, Social, and Organizational Sciences and the AAAI-06 Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Agent-based Social Simulation. He has published over a hundred peer reviewed articles in various journals and conferences. Dr. Upal's work has been funded by Canada's Department of National Defence, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Missile Defence Agency (MDA), Ohio Board of Regents (OBR), and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL).