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Obadimu lands new career at Linkedin

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock doctoral student has been recruited to begin a new career in engineering and operations at Linkedin.

Adewale Obadimu will graduate with a Ph.D. in computer science at the end of the summer, when he will begin a new position as a site reliability engineer at Linkedin in Sunnyvale, California. Site reliability engineers create a bridge between development and operations by applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics.

“I have always had a hankering for developing solutions to myriad problems,” Obadimu said. “While working as the lead software developer at the COSMOS research lab, I realized that I need to pursue a role that amalgamates my software and network engineering skills. Being a site reliability engineer seems like a great fit for me based on those criteria.”

A Linkedin recruiter invited Obadimu to the AfroTech conference Nov. 8-9, 2019, in Oakland, California, where Linkedin was recruiting for positions in engineering, product, user experience design, and business. After two pre-interviews and a three-hour-long interview at the conference, Linkedin reached out with the good news that Obadimu got the job.

Obadimu earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria in 2013. He was a Google Student Ambassador for his previous institution, worked as a lead software developer at Health Informatics Research Laboratory, and a technologist for the Center for Energy Research and Development before.

Since arriving at UA Little Rock in 2016, Obadimu has worked as a software developer in the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS). He’s currently leading the development of Blogtrackers, a program that helps track and analyze blogs.

His dissertation, entitled “Assessing the Role of Social Media Platforms in the Propagation of Toxicity,” argues that users who exhibit toxic behavior will become worse over time and that anyone has the capability to display this behavior online.

Obadimu’s dissertation shows that technology can be used to identify toxic comments on social networks, identify the top topics of toxic discussions, and pinpoint the commenters who are propagating that toxicity across social networks.

“When those toxic commenters are identified, administrators of those online social networks can decide to either flag or remove those commenters from the network, which would increase the overall health of the communication platform,” Obadimu said. “This technique can be applied to any social media platform. Another potential of this work is to describe the threshold that determines whether a toxicity epidemic will occur or fail on a YouTube video.”

Obadimu’s dissertation advisor, Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science and director of COSMOS, said his research is breaking new ground in understanding online hate speech and toxicity.

“His work is all the more critical at a time when our online discourse is often at a flashpoint crossing all boundaries of civility,” Agarwal said. “His work shows how toxicity spreads in online forums and is able to predict expected toxicity levels for a social media posting. Adewale’s research has profound real-world implications such as managing content regulation at social media companies and healing our online societies.”

Obadimu said he’s grateful for the opportunities he’s received while working in COSMOS.

“Dr. Nitin Agarwal has provided abundant opportunities for learning and growth in his invaluable advice, tireless encouragement, and unwavering support,” Obadimu said. “I also enjoy interacting with my COSMOS research lab team members. Their constant camaraderie and advice has helped me in developing as a student. I am grateful for my experience at UA Little Rock.”

As for his student, Agarwal said that Obadimu has been a successful researcher and inspiring mentor with a bright future ahead of him.

“I am extremely proud of Adewale’s accomplishments. He always demonstrated a keen interest in widening his knowledge,” Agarwal said. “He is one of the most hard-working and energetic students at COSMOS. Adewale took upon many roles in COSMOS, as a lead developer, successful researcher, and an inspiring mentor. Adewale epitomizes the mission of COSMOS, which is to coach motivated students to develop solutions for real-world problems that contribute to social good and innovation and transform them to become thought leaders. We are fortunate to have Adewale at COSMOS. I wish him all the best for his future endeavors.”