Computer Science Expert: Academy Can Find Solutions to Challenges of the Business Sector

Computer Science Expert: Academy Can Find Solutions to Challenges of the Business Sector

Aida Kamišalić Latifić is an assistant professor and researcher at the University of Maribor, where she received her PhD in computer science in 2014. Her research interests focus on database technologies, blockchain technologies, data analytics and medical informatics. She has written numerous scientific papers published in renowned journals with a focus on computing and patent application in the field of blockchain technology. She has been involved in many international projects, and in 2019 she received a university award for outstanding research work. In January 2020, she received the prestigious title of Engineer of the Year 2019 in Slovenia. By achieving this, she found herself among many successful Slovenians.

 “This year, the third generation of engineers is being chosen and presented to the public. The engineer of the year will be announced at the beginning of 2021. I am very proud of that title. I have to admit that I did not expect to be chosen among the 10 nominated engineers. They recognized me as a person who could be the best role model for girls in their decision to dedicate themselves to technical studies and the engineering profession. With this title, I got a platform through which, by my example, I can show young people that work, perseverance and acquired knowledge are the path to success. In this way, I try to convey the message to young people that sometimes life does not go as planned and that it is necessary to overcome many obstacles, believe in yourself and have clearly set goals and strive for them, ” says Aida.

Aida has dedicated much of her research work to blockchain technology. A term that is still unknown to many in BiH. Although there are no indications of significant application of this technology in the private or public sector of BiH, certain interests are emerging in academic circles.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the application of blockchain technology in BiH. We have a bilateral project on the topic of blockchain technology with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo. So I know there are activities in terms of research work, but I don’t know how of the technology is introduced in the public or private sector. In Slovenia, there are a large number of projects that have a foundation in blockchain technology. It is about application in various domains, e.g. new business models in energy trade, digital certificate management, supply chain connectivity, etc. Our research group was also recognized by the EU blockchain observatory and the forum of the European Commission, which, in its latest report, listed us as the most important academic initiative in Slovenia in the field of blockchain technology. The European patent, which we have applied for on the topic of blockchain technology, was awarded a gold and a bronze medal at two innovation fairs this year. We won the gold medal at the international exhibition of innovations ARCA 2020 in Zagreb, and the bronze at the fair of innovations and entrepreneurship Sarajevo 2020. I believe that the key is in connecting and transferring knowledge. In this way, they could contribute the most to the development of the use of blockchain technology in BiH “, explains Aida.

Technology is one of the main weapons in the fight against the current pandemic, enabling many to perform regular activities despite the unfavorable situation. Blockchain technology plays a major role in mitigating the effects of coronavirus through medical applications and facilitating the exchange of reliable information among scientists, but also towards the public.

“Blockchain technology has been mentioned for some time as one of the key and innovative technologies that can play an important role in the health sector, because it allows shared access and control over data – it allows us the so-called patient-centric approach, which puts the individual (patient) at the center. not an institution. Blockchain technology is key to establishing transparency of operation and enables data integrity. Thus, in the fight against coronavirus, it enables, for example, monitoring of disease outbreaks and improved management of clinical trial data, thus reducing delays in regulatory approvals and establishing direct communication between actors. This direct communication and the established system for secure cooperation, as well as the monitoring and search for medical supply chains is also an important aspect, especially in times when we have a declared epidemic. The need for transparency is growing, for example donation monitoring, crisis management, etc. We know that from the moment the epidemic began, the spread of misinformation has been intensively increasing. The platforms currently in use do not allow for data authentication, which can lead to public panic and irrational behavior. That is why there is a need to develop a system, which would be based on blockchain technology, and would ensure that the information that reaches the public is reliable, “Aida told the diasporainvest portal.

Although many emphasize the importance of remittances bh. diasporas that indisputably make a great contribution to the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, greater wealth lies in the transfer of knowledge of experts from the diaspora like Aida to our homeland. One of the most prominent opportunities for the transfer of knowledge from the diaspora is the conference “Reconnect”, which is held every year in the organization of the USAID project “Diaspora Invest” and the association Restart. “I believe that our greatest contribution to BiH can be in the transfer of knowledge and experience both in the professional field of activity and in the transfer of ideas and good practices from the countries in which we are active. Connectivity is key. I mentioned earlier that we have bilateral cooperation with FE UNSA. This is one of the possible forms of cooperation. The second is, of course, that young staff, under our mentorship, decide to continue their education in postgraduate studies, which gives us additional opportunities to transfer knowledge. We have the greatest potential in advising companies, various organizations and public institutions. This is one of our basic missions in Slovenia – the transfer of knowledge into practice, into the economy. The fact is that academic institutions can afford research work, for which most companies do not have the resources. Therefore, the key to success is to connect with academic / research groups, which can seek solutions to challenging practical challenges. Only in that way can we jointly support and enable the processes of digital transformation of society “, points out Aida.

The problem of low representation of women in the STEM sector is present even in the most developed countries of the world. Given that Slovenia is ahead of BiH in dealing with this problem, Aida spoke for our portal about the practices that have proven to be the best motivation for the engagement of women in the STEM sector that could possibly be applied in BiH.

“Statistics say that a quarter of girls enroll in STEM studies in Europe, while in Slovenia these statistics are even slightly better, because we are represented somewhere in the third. There are several initiatives in Slovenia that deal intensively with the issue of the presence of women in engineering waters. From year to year it turns out that we manage to bring too few engineers to the labor market. We cannot say that we have too few students enrolled in our faculties, in fact, we are considered one of the largest faculties in terms of the number of enrolled students, but we still have a small percentage of girls who opt for STEM calls. So, we can talk about untapped potential among the female population. Research shows that girls do not choose to study technology because they do not have role models in their immediate environment and in society. That is why numerous initiatives have emerged, which help to point out to young girls the role models and performances of engineers who are extremely successful in their work. This is how the “Engineer of the Year” initiative was created, which aims to publicly present 10 female engineers, who cover various engineering fields, present their stories and thus bring different engineering professions closer to young girls, “Aida emphasizes at the end of our interview.