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Meet Sonia Horchidan – one of EECS' many doctoral students

”I love the academic setting”

Sonia Horchidan is a Division of Software and Computer Systems (SCS) doctoral student
Sonia Horchidan is a Division of Software and Computer Systems (SCS) doctoral student.
Published Nov 07, 2023

Sonia Horchidan is a Division of Software and Computer Systems (SCS) doctoral student. Originally from Romania, she completed her master's degree at KTH in Sweden and then worked at Google. She is now in her third year of doctoral studies, and her work aims to transform fields like healthcare and urban planning.

Sonia hails from the small town of Adjud, located in Vrancea County in Romania, with a population of 15,000. After finishing her Bachelor's degree in her home country, she pursued the KTH master's programme in Software Engineering of Distributed Systems.

Her professional journey led her to the tech giant Google, where she was a part of the team responsible for developing features in the video conferencing applications Google Meet and Google Duo. She focused on enhancing user experience through functionalities similar to the background blur.

System prototype with meaningful applications

Sonia's tenure at KTH spans nearly five years. Currently, in her third year of pursuing a doctoral degree, she is part of the Data Systems Lab. Her research is dedicated to constructing the Orb DB data system, a graph database with predictive capabilities prioritising user trust. 

The system is designed to cater to companies with substantial volumes of data, allowing them to obtain reliable predictions based on their queries, reminiscent of the functionality of large language models.

"By enabling trustworthy predictions and unlocking the potential of interconnected data, I aim to build a prototype that can positively impact various sectors, including healthcare and urban planning," she says. 

The prototype can play a role in treatment discovery and providing personalised medicine recommendations for patients with similar symptoms and medical backgrounds. In city planning, Orb DB offers a range of applications, including optimising transportation networks and predicting delays, bottlenecks, and congestion points, among other use cases.

Loves the academic setting

While Sonia's career path might evolve, she leans towards remaining in academia. 

"Having experienced industry and the academic setting, I am drawn to research and teaching. My ambition is to pursue a professorship. Teaching is an invaluable way to deepen one's understanding of a subject," Sonia explains. 

This inclination towards academia was solidified during her master's thesis project, where she first encountered her current supervisor and was captivated by the group’s work.

Sonia recently won the award for the best paper at the doctoral workshop at the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases  in Vancouver.

While not necessarily exotic, Sonia was captivated by the Canadian city. 

"The city's diverse offerings, from majestic mountains to picturesque beaches and agreeable weather, left a lasting impression on me. The harmonious blend of nature and urban life struck a chord with me," she finishes. 

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