Shqiponja Ahmetaj: Facing the challenges

Photo: Luiza Pulu

“Data is becoming increasingly essential in our digital society. It provides unprecedented insights and possibilities in all areas and promises to significantly improve our lives. Systems based on enormous volumes of data are influencing our daily decisions by recommending for example what restaurants (or balls) we should visit, what products we should buy, what communities we should join, or what news sources we should follow.

However, in the last few years, there is an increasing concern regarding the quality of the data underlying such systems, which may lead to unconscious bias, exclusion, opacity, and sometimes even to harmful decisions for individuals and our society. Computer science and logic play a key role towards establishing data quality, the trustworthiness of data-based systems, and responsible and transparent decision-making. As scientists acting within a societal framework we are called upon to be aware of the challenges and face them – just like the dancers at the midnight quadrille.”

In her work, Shqiponja Ahmetaj develops the theoretical foundations for automatically ensuring data quality on the web while paying attention to practicability and sustainability. The computer scientists received her Ph.D. in 2019 at the Institute of Logic and Computation at TU Wien Informatics. Internationally, she has worked at numerous European universities (Dresden, Bolzano, Oxford, Edinburgh, St. Petersburg) and in the industry (Trento, California). For her research, Ahmetaj received the Hedy Lamarr Award 2022 which is awarded by the City of Vienna to “woman who shape the digital world”.