Staff Profile: Muhammad Javed


Who he is: Muhammad Javed, Ontology engineer and Semantic Applications Developer.

What he does: What I do is help make Cornell’s online information more visible, and more usable. I’m involved in two semantic web projects: Linked Data for Libraries, a collaboration between Cornell and other university libraries including Harvard and Stanford, and Scholars@Cornell. For Scholars@Cornell, the primary goal is to improve the visibility of Cornell research and scholarship activities, such as published articles, authored books and awarded grants. We try to make it easy to find information such as who the experts are in a certain field, who is collaborating with whom, things like that.

For Linked Data for Libraries, I work as an ontologist – which means I work on transforming records into linked open data. This allows information we have online at Cornell to interact with online data elsewhere on the web. So if you have a book here on a certain topic, this would allow you to link that book to other books and information available on the same topic.

Why it’s important: Linked data is all about breaking the barriers around our databases, enabling the knowledge to be visible, reused and extended. You can share more knowledge, get a larger picture, which leads to more connections and discoveries.

Ontologies are mainly about how you can model the data and transform it into a knowledge – something that not only people can use but which machines can also understand.

Where he’s from: I was born in Islamabad, Pakistan. I’ve also lived in Bangladesh, Germany and Ireland, and I’ve been in the United States since 2012.

Education: I have my bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the Islamic University of Technology in Bangladesh. My master’s is in electrical engineering, from the University of Applied Sciences in Germany, and my PhD is in computer science from Dublin City University in Ireland.

Background: I started out studying engineering, but I always had great interest in logics and programming languages. My master’s thesis was about knowledge modeling, so from there I switched to the computer science field. I also worked at the University of Reading in England as a research assistant, and before I came to Cornell I was in Michigan, working as a software developer at a bioinformatics startup.

Best part of his job: Collaboration. I collaborate with both front-end and the back-end developers. I collaborate with my supervisors about exploring new ideas, writing research papers, presenting our project to different stakeholders and the community. I also collaborate with students, to create new visualizations. I like to work in a team.

In his spare time: Of course we’re busy with our kids, but whenever my wife and I have time on the weekends, or when the kids are sleeping, we watch historical movies or soccer. I’m a fan of the Chelsea and Real Madrid soccer clubs.