My name is Ali, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Northeastern University, where I am fortunate to be advised by Alan Mislove. I am interested in concretely measuring bias and possible discriminatory behavior in modern machine learning algorithms, to help engineer better systems for the future. My current work revolves around measuring these issues in internet advertising. I am a recipient of Northeastern's Outstanding Graduate Student in Research award.
During my Ph.D., I've interned at Oracle Labs, where I worked with the Machine Learning Research Group on measuring linguistic biases in large language models. I've also interned at Intel, where I worked on generating model cards and explanations for their repository of ML models.
Before Northeastern, I got my master's degree in computer science at Saarland University. At Saarland, I was a member of Krishna Gummadi's Networked Systems group at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems.
All Things Unequal: Measuring Disparity of Potentially Harmful Ads on Facebook
Muhammad Ali, Angelica Goetzen, Alan Mislove, Elissa Redmiles, Piotr Sapiezynski
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Technology and Consumer Protection (ConPro '22)
at IEEE S&P Symposium, San Francisco, CA, May 2022.
Measuring and Mitigating Bias and Harm in Personalized Advertising
Proceedings of the 15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys '21),
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 2021. (Extended Abstract)
Ad Delivery Algorithms: The Hidden Arbiters of Political Messaging
Muhammad Ali*, Piotr Sapiezynski*, Aleksandra Korolova, Alan Mislove, Aaron Rieke
Proceedings of the 14th ACM Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM '21),
Virtual, March 2021.
Press: Washington Post, WIRED, New Scientist
Discrimination through optimization: How Facebook's ad delivery can lead to skewed outcomes
Muhammad Ali*, Piotr Sapiezynski*, Miranda Bogen, Aleksandra Korolova, Alan Mislove, Aaron Rieke
Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW '19) Austin, TX, USA, November 2019.
Diversity and Inclusion Award, Honorable Mention
Press: Vox, The Economist, WIRED, The Intercept, MIT Technology Review, The Verge, Motherboard, and erm... Breitbart
Measuring Bias in Facebook's Ad-Targeting Attributes
Master's thesis, Saarbrücken, Germany, August 2018.
Potential for Discrimination in Online Targeted Advertising
Till Speicher, Muhammad Ali, Giridhari Venkatadri, George Arvanitakis, Krishna P. Gummadi, Patrick Loiseau, and Alan Mislove
Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*),
New York, NY, February 2018.
Best Paper Nominee
On Quantifying Knowledge Segregation in Society
Abhijnan Chakraborty, Muhammad Ali, Saptarshi Ghosh, Niloy Ganguly, and Krishna P. Gummadi
Proceedings of the FATREC Workshop on Responsible Recommendation (colocated with RecSys 2017), Como, Italy, August 2017.
Back home in Lahore, Pakistan, I did my undergrad in computer science at FAST-NUCES. My Twitter handle is the name of the neighborhood in Lahore where I grew up. I live in Cambridge, MA with my wife, Tazeen, whose love, wisdom, and care work make graduate school easier.
The font for all headings on this homepage is inspired by
Ed Ruscha W.E.B. Du Bois – who used data visualizations as a way to communicate social injustices.
Outside of work, I enjoy reading, indie video games and music. I am a student of the tabla – it's something I picked up very late in life but am currently refusing to give up. On difficult days, I like to re-read Bill Watterson's commencement speech.