Tuesday, August 07, 2018

2018 Women@McKinsey Dissertation Award to GSSI alumna Yllka Velaj

GSSI alumna Yllka Velaj has been selected as co-recipient of the 2018 Women@McKinsey Dissertation Award (https://www.mckinsey.it/womenmckinsey-dissertation-award), which is given to a female researcher for a master or doctoral thesis on themes related to Advanced Data Analytics or Machine Learning. Yllka receives the award for her PhD thesis "Information spreading with network augmentation" that she completed at the GSSI under the supervision of Pierluigi Crescenzi (University of Florence) and Gianlorenzo D'Angelo (GSSI). The award comes with a job offer by McKinsey & Company, and with financial support to attend the Open Data Science Conference 2018, which will be held in London in the period 19-22 September 2018.

Citing the explanation of her work given by Yllka in the CWI press release:
"Understanding the dynamics that regulate the diffusion of information in complex networks has been one of the main goals in the field of complex network analysis. The problem, which is also known as influence spreading or information diffusion problem, is motivated by many applications in different fields: from marketing to epidemiology, going through the study of adoption of innovations and the analysis of social networks. In my PhD thesis, I designed new efficient algorithms which use a given budget to suggest new links to be added to the network in order to maximize the diffusion of information”.

Yllka is an Italian scientist of Albanian origin. She obtained her BSc in Computer Science and her MSc in Distributed Systems and Computer Networks from the University of L'Aquila. She was a PhD student in Computer Science in the joint PhD GSSI-IMT programme at the Gran Sasso Science Institute. After one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chieti-Pescara, in May 2018 she joined the Networks & Optimization group at CWI in Amsterdam as a winner of the fellowship programme promoted by ERCIM - the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics.

Yllka's research interests include combinatorial algorithms, network analysis, algorithm engineering and recently also algorithmic game theory.

Congratulations to Yllka, her supervisors and the CS group at the GSSI as a whole.