I am Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton in the UK. I work in the department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), in the Web and Internet Science (WAIS) research group. I am also part of the Web Science Institute.
I have a doctoral degree in Computer Science (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Free University of Berlin and a Diploma in Computer Science from the Technical University of Munich.
Before joining Southampton in November 2012, I was at the Technical University of Munich (2002/03); Free University of Berlin (2003/07); Semantic Technology Institute (STI) Innsbruck at the University of Innsbruck, Austria (2007/09); and Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany (2010/12).
My research is at the intersection between AI and crowd computing. It helps designers understand how to build socio-technical systems that combine machine algorithms with human and social capabilities. Recently, I’ve been looking at several classes of Web systems that are set up for engagement at scale: citizen science platforms like the Zooniverse and Eyewire; participatory sensing apps creating added value through ingenious mixes of data and crowd contributions; and universal knowledge bases like Wikipedia and Wikidata.
I had the chance to work in over twenty European and national research projects, often in collaboration with researchers and industry from other European countries. My personal highlights in this journey are INSEMTIVES (EU FP7), RENDER (EU FP7) and QROWD (EU H2020). All three have several common features – they look at the Web and related systems as socio-technical constructs, which require an understanding and appreciation of motivations, incentives and user experience in addition to sophisticated technologies to realise their functionality. For example, in QROWD, which started in December 2016, we are implementing a hybrid, crowd-computer architecture for smart transport, which enables apps and services for traffic management, navigation and parking. In the same space, I am also contributing to SOCIAM, a large UK grant studying the design and evolution of social machines, including citizen science platforms, online communities and social networks.
Between February 2015 and July 2017 I led ODINE, an EU-funded incubator for open data businesses. As a follow-up of ODINE, I have initiated Data Pitch, which develops an open innovation programme and corporate accelerator enabled by shared data. Data Pitch is funded by Horizon 2020 and will help 50 small and medium businesses build commercial pilots that will showcase the benefits of the free flow of data in the EU. My most recent project takes what I have learned about how people use open, closed and shared data and applies it to new domains – from October 2017 I will be the PI of Data Stories, an EPSRC funded grant that develops concepts and tools that make data and facts easier to engage with in everyday situations.
Throughout the years, I have been part of many amazing initiatives of the scientific community – I have served as chair and program chair of the European and Semantic Web Conferences, the European Data Forum, and the European Semantic Technologies Conferences; led over 10 summer schools in Europe, Asia, and the US; and pursued a range of education activities, from projects like EUCLID, which developed an open curriculum for Linked Data; to the European Data Science Academy, which analysis supply and demand of data science skills; to the Southampton Data Science Academy, which offers professional training in data science.