Monthly Archives: June 2020

Vedran Sekara has joined NERDS

We are happy to announce that Vedran Sekara has joined NERDS!

Vedran SekaraVedran is a well-rounded scientist with a professional background from tech, academia, and the international development sector, starting at ITU as Assistant Professor. His work lies in the intersection between network science, ethics and computer science, harnessing the power of complex networks, massive datasets, machine learning and data visualization for public good. Vedran joined from UNICEF where he was a Principal Researcher focused on understanding how modern technologies, such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, impact our societies and its most vulnerable communities. His previous work has been covered in The Ecomomist, Forbes, Scientific American, and Die Zeit, and been featured on the cover of the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

At ITU Vedran plans to continue this stream of work by leveraging data from private, humanitarian and international sectors to understand data representativeness, algorithmic bias, and how to build equitable algorithms. We are super excited about all the ways Vedran will enrich our group, on both a social and professional level!

Check out Vedran’s cool Webpage and find him on Twitter.

Obaida Hanteer’s PhD defense “A Practical and Critical Look at the Problem of Community Discovery in Multilayer Networks”.

On June 11th, virtually in front of the Examination Committee – headed by Barbara Plank (IT University of Copenhagen) and with members Vito Latora (Queen Mary University of London) and Luca Aiello (Nokia Bell Labs) – Obaida Hanteer successfully defended his PhD.
Well done!

Obaida’s research took first a practical approach to community detection in the context of multilayer networks (mainly working with social media data [link, link]) and then, it stepped back and looked with a critical eye at the tools and the (often implicit) assumptions made by multilayer community detection methods [link, link]. His research, as acknowledged by the committee, was brave – in challenging the status quo and the assumptions of many well-established methods – and compelling helping us remembering the importance of asking questions about the tools and the methods we use.

After his experience at ITU Obaida accepted another interdisciplinary challenge by joining the Novo Nordisk Foundation – Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen where he’ll be working on applying multi-layer networks concepts to the interactions of human’s gut microbiome. We wish Obaida all the best for his future career!

Back from lockdown with 2 papers

NERDS are back from the lockdown with two three new papers published today:

  1. Distortions of political bias in crowdsourced misinformation flagging, by Michele Coscia and Luca Rossi, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface

    Luca writes more about the paper here:
    And here Michele’s take:

  2. Extracting the multimodal fingerprint of urban transportation networks, by Luis Guillermo Natera Orozco, Federico Battiston, Gerardo Iñiguez, and Michael Szell, published in Transport Findings

    In this paper we analyze urban transport network layers of multiple cities and come up with a multiplex-network based method to construct a “fingerprint” of how these layers connect. This gives insights and a classification on the multimodal potential of cities (how their modes of transport are connected).

Update June 11th: Make that one more:

3. Generalized Euclidean Measure to Estimate Network Distances, by Michele Coscia, published in ICWSM-2020