HI, I'M DR SOFIAT OLAOSEBIKAN



Photo of Sofiat Olaosebikan

I am a Lecturer in Algorithms and Complexity in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. I have a PhD in Computing Science from the University of Glasgow, Scotland; an MSc in Mathematical Sciences from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Ghana; and a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. My journey from being a major in Mathematics to becoming a researcher in CS is fuelled by my passion for problem solving and programming.


I am also very passionate about using my skills to help people. In my spare time, I find myself reflecting on how best to inspire and pass on computing skills to young Africans studying in a STEM related field, with the hope that they can also grow to become creative thinkers. Consequently, they can contribute to pushing Africa forward on the frontiers of science and technology. All of these thoughts and reflections led to PWSAfrica - an initiative focused on empowering scientists in Africa with computer programming skills. In recognition of the significance of this initiative, I was named as one of the Future World Changers at the University of Glasgow.


For sports, I enjoy weightlifting, boxing, high-intensity training and pilates. I am an active member of the University of Glasgow gym. However, since the global pandemic started, I have resulted to walking! I walked half a million steps in June 2020 (roughly 13km daily in 18,000 steps). Since I started my new job in August 2020, I have settled for an average of 10,000 daily steps.



Research videos


Other videos

Research

Interests: algorithms design using graph theory; matching theory; combinatorial optimisation; computational complexity; algorithm engineering; experimentation.

I am a member of the Formal Analysis, Theory and Algorithms (FATA) research group. My motivation for research is fuelled by my passion for using tools from mathematics and computer science to solve real-world problems. I recently completed my PhD (awarded July 2020), and my work was on the design of efficient algorithms for matching problems.


Matching problems arise when we seek to match a set of agents to a set of objects (e.g., pairing donor kidneys with transplant patients, allocating junior doctors to hospitals, and assigning students to projects). Typically, agents may have ordinal preferences over a subset of objects, and there may be constraints on the number of agents that each object can accommodate. A natural goal is to find an optimal allocation of agents to objects, according to the given preferences and constraints. A practical application of matching problems, where university departments seek to allocate students to dissertation projects, is referred to as the Student-Project Allocation problem (SPA). My thesis presents new structural results, as well as efficient (polynomial-time) algorithms for variants of SPA.


Thesis title: The Student-Project Allocation problem: Structure and Algorithms.

Recently, I came across an application of matching theory in wireless networks. Here is a book for background. If you are interested in exploring the open problems in this area, please send me an email [see the contact section].

Publications

Journal papers

  1. Super-stability in the Student-Project Allocation Problem with Ties, with David Manlove. Journal of Combinatorial Optimization (2020) -- a special issue dedicated to selected papers from COCOA 2018.
    [DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10878-020-00632-x | Postprint | arXiv version ]

  2. Student-Project Allocation with Preferences over Projects: Algorithmic and Experimental Results, with David Manlove and Duncan Milne. Discrete Applied Mathematics (2020) -- a special issue dedicated to selected papers from ISCO 2018.
    [DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dam.2020.08.015 | Postprint]

  3. Strong stability in the Student-Project Allocation problem with Ties, with David Manlove. Submitted to Discrete Applied Mathematics -- a special issue dedicated to selected papers from CALDAM 2020.


Conference papers

  1. An algorithm for Strong Stability in the Student-Project Allocation Problem with Ties, with David Manlove. Accepted for MATCH-UP 2019 (no proceedings). In proceedings of CALDAM 2020: International Conference on Algorithms and Discrete Applied Mathematics, volume 12016 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 384 - 399, Springer, 2020.
    [DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-39219-2_31 | Postprint | arXiv version ]

  2. Super-stability in the Student-Project Allocation Problem with Ties, with David Manlove. In proceedings of COCOA 2018: the 12th Annual International Conference on Combinatorial Optimization and Applications, volume 11346 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 357 - 371, Springer, 2018.
    [DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-04651-4_24 | Postprint ]

  3. An Integer Programming Approach to the Student-Project Allocation Problem with Preferences over Projects, with David Manlove and Duncan Milne. In proceedings of ISCO 2018: the 5th International Symposium on Combinatorial Optimization, volume 10856 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 313 - 325, Springer, 2018.
    [DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96151-4_27 | Postprint | arXiv version ]


Work in progress

  1. The Structure of Stable Matchings in the Student-Project Allocation Problem
  2. Student-Project Allocation problem with lecturer preferences over Students and with Project Lower Quotas

Teaching

Course instructor, since 2020/21: Introductory Programming in Python (Level 1, Semester 2).

Previous TA responsibilities

Supervision

Current

  • Peace Ayegba (PhD, starting 01 October).

    Past (selected)

    • Liam Lau (Undergraduate). A web application to visualise matching algorithms.
    • Mehmet Zorlu (Undergraduate). A web platform to handle the allocation of academics to young researchers.
    • Dongdong Tu (MSc IT+). A web application to aid the understanding of the Gale-Shapley algorithm.
    • Ting Ting van Abbema (MSc IT+). A java application that can be used to find all stable matchings, given an instance of the student-project allocation problem with lecturer preferences over students. This application also visualised the lattice structure representing the dominance relation between the stable matchings. She won the Best MSc IT+ Project Prize in the School.

    Activities

    Selected research activities


    Committees

    • Member of the organising committee, International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021).
    • Member of the organising committee, SICSA PhD Conference 2019. I chaired the workshop on "Mental Health and Wellbeing".
    • Founder and President of the Nigerian Students' Society, University of Glasgow (NSSUofG) [Twitter | Facebook], (2017 - 2019).
    • Postgraduate student representative on the British Colloquium for Theoretical Computer Science (BCTCS) organising committee (2018/19).
    • Member of the Postgraduate student committee that organised FICS, to celebrate 60 years of Computing at the University of Glasgow (2017/2018).

    Outreach

    I am founder and lead of Programming Workshop for Scientists in Africa (PWSA ) - an initiative focused on empowering scientists in Africa with computer programming skills. PWSA is an international outreach supported by the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow.

    • PWSA2018 was delivered as a physical workshop, training over 100 students and staff at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
    • PWSA2019 was also held physically at the University of Rwanda, Kigali.
    • PWSA2020 was cancelled because of the pandemic.
    • PWSA2021 was delivered online, from 30 August - 10 September. The team received 487 applications, interviewed over 250 of them and selected 170 participants (those who had access to a computer and good internet connection). The impact in 2021 was more than previous years because we were able to train people from 11 different African countries, as well as Africans residing in Asia, Europe, North America and the UK. We went further to provide internet support in the form of data subscription for those residing in Africa, and we recruited 40 volunteers who served as tutors supporting our participants during the hands-on coding session.
    Till date, PWSA has received funding from SICSA, UofG's Chancellors Fund, UofG School of Computing Science, and UofG's GCRF small grants.


    Selected public engagements

    • Invited panelist on the "Picture a Scientist" panel discussion, celebrating International Women's Day at the University of Glasgow. [Online | March 2021].
    • Invited speaker at the Glasgow Women in Computing Science meet up, University of Glasgow. [Online | February 2021].
    • Invited speaker at the Joint Mathematics Meeting, USA. I gave a talk during the MAA Session: Supporting Mathematics in the Developing World. [Online | January 2021].
    • Invited speaker, Successful Women at Glasgow (SWAG), University of Glasgow. [Online| November 2020].
    • Invited speaker at the opening session of the virtual anaytics training organised by the Data Kirk, Edinburgh. [Online| October 2020].
    • Invited speaker at the Women in Engineering (WIE-UISB) Webinar. I told a story of my journey into computing, with a focus on how developing the skills I am passionate about led to a surge in my career progression [Online | August 2020].
    • Invited presenter at the Science Slam Alumni event [Online | June 2020].
    • Invited speaker at the event celebrating Ada Lovelace Day, School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow. [8 October 2019].
    • Invited panelist at the Standing up for Science workshop, University of Edinburgh, UK. [20 September 2019]. My talk was centred around the PWSAfrica initiative and why it is important for early career researchers to engage with the public, media and policy makers.
    • Invited speaker at Glasgow Pint of Science Festival, 22 May 2019.
    • Visited Springfield Primary School in Linlithgow on 26 March 2019, alongside my PhD supervisor, to speak to the pupils about Mathematics and Computer Science.
    • My slides at the Science Slam event, which took place in July 2017. Second runner up (won a prize of £200).

    Blogs

    Portfolio

    Projects

    hopcroftkarp 1.2.4: A Python library that finds a maximum matching in bipartite graphs.


    Education & Training


    Scholarships & Awards

    • Springer Best Student Presentation Award at CALDAM 2020, India: (cash prize 5,000 INR).
    • Future World Changer Award , University of Glasgow, on the PWSAfrica initiative.
    • Second runner-up at the Science Slam competition, University of Glasgow: (cash prize £200).
    • 3.5 years Doctoral Research Scholarship, University of Glasgow: (value £122,000).
    • F.K.A Allotey Meritorious Award - Best Graduating Student (2015). African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, AIMS-Ghana.
    • Fully Funded Masters Scholarship (2014). African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, AIMS-Ghana: (value $10,000).
    • Crescent Bearers Scholarship (2012): (value N50,000).
    • Lagos State Government Scholarship, in recognition of Academic Merit (2012): (value N200,000).
    • Total E & P Scholarship, in recognition of Academic Merit (2010 - 2012): (value N300,000).
    • Academic Merit Award (2010 - 2012). Dean's Roll of Honor, Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan.

    Contact

    Office address (also mailing address):
    Sir Alwyn Williams Building,
    School of Computing Science,
    University of Glasgow,
    Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK.

    Email:
    Sofiat [dot] Olaosebikan [at] glasgow [dot] ac [dot] uk

    You can also find me on other websites

    Linkedin | Github | Twitter