Interview with Dr. Flora Sakketou, postdoctoral researcher in deep learning for NLP

Flora Sakketou Interview Postdoctoral researcher

Today we interview Flora Sakketou, a postdoctoral researcher in our lab, focusing on developing deep learning optimization algorithms and applying them to Natural Language Processing problems. Read on to learn more about her exciting research path, her interests, and life in Marburg.

Could you explain your research to someone outside your field?

I am currently working on two main projects. One is to automatically identify users that are likely to spread fake news in social media by processing their posts, and the other is to automatically identify a user’s opinion regarding a specific socio-political issue and observe whether there is any indication of radicalization by following their stream of posts through time.

What excites you about it?

One thing that is generally exciting about research is its unpredictability; one never knows what the results might show. Regarding my research, I believe that it is very interesting to work on real life data and come up with tools that can be directly applied. I also like that my field requires a holistic approach when looking at a problem. That is, in addition to the technical part, which is the development of the algorithm and its programming, I get to look at a problem from the political science point of view, which is particularly exciting.

What do you like at the lab?

It is wonderful working in a friendly environment where you can discuss your ideas in a constructive way, work with people who are brilliant and have fun doing it. I feel that even after a frustrating day where nothing works, I can always talk to my colleagues about it, take the load off and start from the beginning the next day. It also helps working in a city as beautiful as Marburg. The castle, the traditional German houses and the river make Marburg a perfect place to work and live. It has a lot of hiking routes, everything is surrounded by nature, and it’s especially pretty during the night.

What keeps you busy outside of your university job?

I love sewing and glass painting, I am always finding myself making things either for myself or for others. I also like going on trips with my husband, hiking and hanging around with my two cats watching sci-fi movies after a long day at the lab.