Shqiponja Ahmetaj Wins Hedy Lamarr Prize 2022
The City of Vienna honors the expert for intelligent data management from TU Wien Informatics for her innovative work.
On October 19, 2022, the fifth Hedy Lamarr Prize of the City of Vienna was awarded to Shqiponja Ahmetaj, PostDoc Researcher at the Research Unit for Knowledge-Based Systems during a ceremony at the Digital Days.
“With the Hedy Lamarr Prize, we highlight outstanding achievements by female computer scientists for the 5th time, making their strength in this field visible. Five years of the Hedy Lamarr Prize means: Five years of visible recognition for women who create great things in future industries,” stated Deputy Mayor and City Councilor for Women Kathrin Gaál. “The Hedy Lamarr Award winners are role models for girls and young women. They show that all genders can have successful careers in IT,” added Science City Councilor Veronica Kaup-Hasler.
“I am very grateful and overjoyed to receive the Hedy Lamarr Prize 2022,” emphasized award winner Shqiponja Ahmetaj in her acceptance speech. “In our digital age, data plays an increasingly important role. It must be accurate and reliable to be useful to people and applications. However, given the unprecedented variety and quantity of data we now have at our disposal, this is precisely what is all too often not guaranteed. In particular, data stored on the Internet can be incomplete or incorrect, leading to false conclusions. Thus, ensuring data quality is a more urgent challenge today than ever. I am working to lay the basis for automated data quality management, focusing on online data. Hopefully, through my work, I’ll encourage other young women to pursue careers in informatics.”
About Shqiponja Ahmetaj
Shqiponja Ahmetaj received her Ph.D. in 2019 at the Institute of Logic and Computation at TU Wien Informatics. Internationally, she has worked at diverse European universities (Dresden, Bolzano, Oxford, Edinburgh, St. Petersburg) and in the industry (Trento, California). Shqiponja Ahmetaj’s research results have been presented in several prestigious journals and professional events and also stand out for touching on different research areas – such as knowledge representation and reasoning, artificial intelligence, database theory, and semantic networks.
“In her research, Shqiponja Ahmetaj develops the theoretical foundations for automatically ensuring data quality on the web while paying attention to practicability and sustainability,” said Laura Kovács, Professor for Formal Methods and System Engineering at TU Wien Informatics, and member of the jury, explaining the jury’s selection. “Like Hedy Lamarr, Shqiponja Ahmetaj looks back on an international career. As a mother and scientist in a male-dominated field, she is an exceptional role model and a worthy award winner, especially for young girls and female academics.”
Data quality as key for digital transformation
“Our digital society is constantly confronted with the quality of data available on the World Wide Web. Data is the basis for innovative solutions, but in some cases, it harms individuals or society as a whole. For example, if data is incomplete and thus leads to unconscious bias,” emphasized Laura Kovács.
“Shqiponja Ahmetaj’s work is an important contribution to the fight against discrimination. Especially in IT, it is important that women are not only users but also actively participate in shaping it!” Vice Mayor and Women’s City Councilor Kathrin Gaál is convinced. And: “The Hedy Lamarr Award winners are important role models and show girls and young women: Be brave and go your own way!”
“Shqiponja Ahmetaj’s research on data quality and intelligent data management, taking into account practical relevance and sustainability aspects, is right on the pulse of the times in the wake of digital transformation. Hedy Lamarr Award winners Johanna Pirker, Laura Nenzi, Martina Lindorfer, Verena Fuchsberger-Staufer, and now Shqiponja Ahmetaj, are much-needed examples for girls and young women who want to become researchers,” summarizes Science City Councilor Veronica Kaup-Hasler.
About the Hedy Lamarr Prize
The City of Vienna awards the Hedy Lamarr Prize every year together with DigitalCity.Wien, an initiative of the climate and innovation agency UIV Urban Innovation Vienna. The prize is endowed with EUR 10,000. An independent jury of experts will determine the winner, who will automatically become a jury member. The festive award ceremony traditionally takes place during the Digital Days.