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Sorelle Friedler ’04 Joins White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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Photo courtesy of Patrick Montero, Haverford College

Swarthmore alum Sorelle Friedler ’04 has been named the assistant director for data and democracy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House announced last month.

Friedler, who graduated from the College with a degree in computer science and is currently an assistant professor of computer science at Haverford College, focuses her work on the fairness and interpretability of machine learning algorithms, with applications from criminal justice to materials discovery. She will be the first person in the organization’s history with a job title  focused specifically on data and democracy. 

“I’ve been working on issues at the intersection of technology and society for many years now, trying to understand potential harms when algorithms are embedded in society and what mechanisms can be used to audit for and prevent these harms,” she told Haverford after the announcement. "I’m eager to have this opportunity to inform policy on these topics."

Sorelle is a Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT) as well as a former Program Committee Co-Chair of FAccT and FAT/ML. She has received a Mozilla grant, Data and Society fellowship, and NSF grant for her work on preventing discrimination in machine learning. Her work on this topic has been featured in IEEE Spectrum, Gizmodo, and NBC News and she has been interviewed about algorithmic fairness by The Guardian, Bloomberg, and NPR.

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