Résumé (short) /
Curriculum Vitae (CV)

PhD Student, Computer Science,
University of Southern California

Research Assistant,
Information Sciences Institute

Former Embedded Firmware Engineer,

Former Senior Firmware Engineer & Team Leader,
Mellanox Technologies

TAU EE '15, IASA '10, RSI '09

Contact me at:
basel921 at gmail dot com
shbita at usc dot edu

Basel Shbita

Scientist | Artist | Engineer | Burner

Research Interests: Knowledge Graphs · Semantic Web · Linked Open Data · Machine Learning · Information Extraction · Information Technology · Computer Networks

Hi, I'm Basel Shbita (Arabic: باسل شبيطة; Hebrew: באסל שביטה; Russian: Басель Шбита).

I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department at University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA. I work as a research assistant at the Center on Knowledge Graphs at USC's Information Sciences Institute in Marina del Rey, CA. I am advised by Prof. Craig Knoblock and also work with Prof. Pedro Szekely, Prof. Jay Pujara and Prof. Yao-Yi Chiang. My research currently focuses on knowledge graphs and the semantic web with an emphasis on data normalization as a means to solve complex information integration problems. Concurrently, I am investigating methods to leverage machine and deep learning techniques to establish automatic information extraction and knowledge graph construction.
I am currently taking part in three major projects at ISI: Model Integration (MINT), Linked Maps and Table Understanding.

Prior to joining USC I worked for Apple (2018) as an Embedded Software Engineer in the Flash Storage Software Department and for Mellanox Technologies (2011-2017) as a Senior Firmware Engineer and Team Leader in the Switch Silicon Core Department. I received my Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University (magna cum laude) in 2015, specializing in CS, Communications, and Electronic Devices.

Besides my research and scientific work, I practice graphic and digital art, including animation, and recently worked on experimental electronic music. I am also part of the Anatomical Drawing Society at USC where we work alongside other artists on sketching and figure drawing. Here's my art page, my music production channel, and my latest musical duo project (launching 2021).

Do you want to read more about me? check out my present and past projects.


  • TA (Teaching Assistant) for DSCI 558: Building Knowledge Graphs (Fall 2020 @ USC)
  • TA (Teaching Assistant) for CSCI 563/INF 558: Building Knowledge Graphs (Spring 2020 @ USC)

Selected Publications

  • Li, Z., Chiang, Y. Y., Tavakkol, S., Shbita, B., Uhl, J. H., Leyk, S., & Knoblock, C. A. (2020, August). An Automatic Approach for Generating Rich, Linked Geo-Metadata from Historical Map Images. In Proceedings of the 26th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (pp. 3290-3298) · link paper

  • Shbita, B., Knoblock, C. A., Duan, W., Chiang, Y. Y., Uhl, J. H., & Leyk, S. (2020, May). Building Linked Spatio-Temporal Data from Vectorized Historical Maps. In European Semantic Web Conference (pp. 409-426). Springer, Cham · link paper code

  • Shbita, B., Vu, B., Feldman, D., Pham, M., Rajendran, A., Knoblock, C. A., Pujara, J., & Chiang, Y. Y. (2019). Creating a FAIR Data Catalog to Support Scientific Modeling. In Workshop on Advanced Knowledge Technologies for Science in a FAIR World (AKTS) · paper

  • Shbita, B., Rajendran, A., Pujara, J., & Knoblock, C. A. (2019). Parsing, Representing and Transforming Units of Measure. In Modeling the World’s Systems · paper poster code


  • 2021/05: Our conversational social bot Viola has qualified to the semifinals at the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4!

  • 2021/01: Presented a poster at the USC Artificial Intelligence Symposium: Will AIs Ever Be One of Us? The Symposium included keynote presentations, panels, and talks by USC AI researchers on forward-looking AI research topics on interaction and collaboration.

  • 2021/01: I was featured on VoyageLA Magazine! I was really honored and excited to share my story.

  • 2021/01: Our conversational social bot Viola has passed the Amazon Alexa certification phase for the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4. Check out our team’s webpage!

  • 2020/11: Happy to announce that our team from USC will be competing in the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4, a multimillion-dollar university challenge focused on advancing human-computer interaction!

  • 2020/06: Presented paper (oral) on Building Linked Spatio-Temporal Data from Vectorized Historical Maps at the 17th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) which was held online (originally planned in Heraklion, Crete, Greece)

  • 2020/01: I was interviewed and talkd about my latest work on Linked Data generated from geographic historical map archives at USC Information Sciences Institute's Research Day at Redondo Beach, CA

  • 2019/11: Volunteered at the 10th International Conference on Knowledge Capture (K-CAP), where AI researchers showcased some of their exciting work on scalable, robust and diverse knowledge capture.

  • 2019/09: Presented paper (oral) on Creating a FAIR Data Catalog to Support Scientific Modeling at AKTS 2019. A workshop co-located with the IEEE eScience Conference in San Diego, CA. Our work was referred to as "Science Fiction" by none other than Wikidata's founder; Read about it here!

  • 2019/09: Presented to DARPA the work we are doing in MINT’s Information Integration Group towards a framework for data exploration, information extraction and transformation during the World Modelers' PI meetings in Alexandria, VA

  • 2019/Summer: Supervised an intern student (IIT Delhi) in the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) at USC's ISI working on leveraging semantics to geospatial data using reverse-geocoding services and OpenStreetMap-instance matching and ranking algorithms

  • 2019/05: Presented paper (oral) and poster on Parsing, Representing and Transforming Units of Measure at MOMACS's 2019 Modeling the World's Systems Conference in Washington, D.C.

  • 2018/12: Delivered a talk at Tira Talks 4 (a TEDx event held in my hometown). I talked about the importance of challenges, change, globalization, diversity and AI. I couldn’t be more honored to stand in front of almost 500 people and contribute to the place where I grew-up.