Masdar Institute UAE National PhD Student Becomes Country’s First to Defend Thesis in ‘Big Data’

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that one of its UAE national PhD students has become the first in the country to defend a thesis in the field of data science and computational social science.

PhD student Aamena Ali Alshamsi’s thesis titled ‘The good life in the network: How social networks shape our personality and emotions’ covers some of the highly technical aspects of ‘Big Data.’ During her thesis defense, she elaborated on the possibilities of using social media and mobile phones to understand what makes society happy. Alshamsi received her doctorate degree at the Masdar Institute commencement ceremony that was held on 26 May.


Since Alshamsi’s interdisciplinary research required support from social scientists, she and her advisors also collaborated with Dr. Fabio Pianesi, Vice-Director for Research at Trento Research, Innovation and Education System (Trento RISE), and Vice-President of European Institute of Innovation & Technology Information and Communication Technologies (EIT ICT) Labs, Italy, and Bruno Lepri, who leads the Mobile and Social Computing Lab (MobS Lab) at Bruno Kessler Foundation, Trento, Italy.

A proud recipient of the UAE National Research Foundation’s (NRF) ‘Young Emirati Researcher’ Award 2012, Alshamsi believes her achievements were possible because of her passion for knowledge and scientific research. She was also ranked 4th in the Activity Recognition Challenge at the ‘Workshop on Robust machine learning techniques for human activity recognition’ during the IEEE Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics 2011 in Anchorage, Alaska.

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