Oshani Seneviratne

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Oshani Seneviratne is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she leads the BRAINS (Blockchain-based, Resilient, Accountable, Intelligent Networked Systems) Lab. She is also the Associate Director of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. Her primary research interest is in Decentralized Systems (Web, Blockchain, and Decentralized Learning technologies), and she conducts applied research in health informatics and decentralized finance. Oshani obtained her S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the supervision of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. She previously served as the Director of Health Data Research at Rensselaer and as a senior software engineer at Oracle Inc.

Education & Training
  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, MIT
  • S.M. in in Computer Science, MIT
  • B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka


Our research focuses on the novel application of decentralized information systems, such as the World Wide Web and blockchain technologies, to advance human endeavors through Blockchain-based, Resilient, Accountable, Intelligent Networked Systems (BRAINS). From the invention of the Web three decades ago to the formulation of blockchain technologies only a little over a decade ago, decentralized information systems have transformed various aspects of human experience, from healthcare, finance, education, entertainment, research, and social connections through creative and timely breakthroughs. Various fields at the intersection and periphery of decentralized information systems, such as artificial intelligence, knowledge graphs, security, privacy, and human-computer interaction, are essential components of the BRAINS research agenda. In particular, through the BRAINS research, we are investigating the application of decentralized techniques in addressing the challenge of designing an effective data-sharing infrastructure, intending to make it accountable (i.e., there is transparency in how the data is used) and the data-sharing is incentivized (i.e., to ensure the adoption of the system will scale organically), which are becoming significant problems in the age of generative AI. Additionally, we are investigating fundamental questions on leveraging the data from the edge in a more secure, privacy-preserving way and how emerging decentralized application infrastructures can be interoperable while reducing data and value silos, as the composition of these systems is fundamentally different and will have varying degrees of security, trust, and identity mechanisms. Finally, the BRAINS research is grounded in healthcare and finance application domains.

Primary Research Focus
Decentralized Systems, Web, Blockchain, AI


  • Courses:
    • AI and Blockchain, 2024 Spring, 2023 Spring & Fall, 2022 Fall
    • AI in Fact and Fiction, 2023 Fall, 2020 & 2021 summers
    • MIT Global Startup Labs, 2011 and 2012 summers
    • Introduction to Computer Science at MIT Women’s Technology Program; 2010 summer
  • Guest Lectures:
    • Advanced Financial Technologies, 2021 Spring
    • Predictive Modeling, 2020 Spring
    • Data Science 2019 Spring, 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, 2021 Spring, 2021 Fall, 2022 Spring
    • XInformatics; 2019 Spring, 2020 Spring, 2021 Spring, 2022 Spring
    • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence; 2019 Spring
    • Ontology Engineering, Data Science, and Web Systems classes; 2018 Fall
    • Cognitive Computing; 2018 and 2019 Spring
Current Courses

AI and Blockchain, Spring 2024


Oshani's work has been featured in the following news articles.

Awards & Honors
  • Distinguished Paper Award at American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) ’23 Annual Symposium for ”MentalHealthAI: Utilizing Personal Health Device Data to Optimize Psychiatry Treatment” https://amia.org/about-amia/amia-awards/research-awards/distinguished-paper-awards
  • Selected as a Mobile Health Training Institute Scholar at UCLA for the 2023 cohort https://mhti.md2k.org/index.php/scholars
  • Best Paper Award at the Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Workshop for “Leveraging Clinical Context for User-Centered Explainability: A Diabetes Use Case”; Shruthi Chari, Prithwish Chakraborty, Mohamed Ghalwash, Oshani Seneviratne, Elif K Eyigoz, Daniel M Gruen, Fernando Suarez Saiz, Ching-Hua Chen, Pablo Meyer Rojas, Deborah L McGuinness
  • Best Student Paper Award at the 4th International Workshop on Data Engineering Meets Intelligent Cooking Recipes (DECOR) 2021 for “Semantic Modeling for Food Recommendation Explanations”; Ishita Padhiar, Oshani Seneviratne, Shruthi Chari, Daniel M. Gruen, and Deborah L. McGuinness
  • Best Resource Paper Award at the 19th International Semantic Web Conference 2020 for Explanation Ontology: A Model of Explanations for User-Centered AI; Shruthi Chari, Oshani Seneviratne, Daniel M. Gruen ,  Morgan A. Foreman , Amar K. Das, Deborah L. McGuinness Best Use of Data Award, NASA Space Apps Challenge 2016
  • Gamechanger | Best Out of the Box Prize for "EMSights: Emergency Medicine Insights" at the FHIR @hack 2021
  • Best Communications App, May 2014, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, AT&T Mobile App Hackathon, Washington DC
  • Best Computing and Most Technically Interesting Project Award, Big Travel Data Hackathon 2013, Boston MA
  • Key Scientific Challenge Winner 2011, Yahoo Research
  • World Wide Web Travel Awards 2009 and 2011 by Google Inc.
  • Grace Hopper Scholarship Award 2005 (as an undergraduate at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka) and 2011 (as a Ph.D. student at MIT) from the Anita Borg Institute
Presentations & Appearances

Distributed Ledger Technologies:

  • "The Synergy of Large Language Models, Knowledge Graphs, and Blockchain in Decentralized Intelligence" at DKGCon’23, on Oct 9, 2023 https://dkgcon.origintrail.io
  • "Chaining Intelligence: Exploring the Intersection of Blockchain and AI" at the “MEGA-ACE NTUA Summer School” (https://mega-ace.corelab.ntua.gr/summer-school) on May 24, 2023; Hosted by Aris Pagourtzis
  • "Unleashing the Power of Decentralized Knowledge Graphs in the Web3 Era" at the “AtheCrypt 2023” (https://mega-ace.corelab.ntua.gr/index.php/athecrypt) at the Zografou Campus, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, on May 19, 2023, Hosted by Vassilis Zikas
  • "Empowering Decentralization through Algorand’s Smart Contracts" at the “Texas A&M Blockchain Day”(http://tamublockchain.github.io) at the Texas A&M University on May 01, 2023; Hosted by Juan A. Garay
  • Decentralized Knowledge Graphs at the “Knowledge Graph Day” at the Web Conference (https://www2023.thewebconf.org/special/knowledge-graph-day), Austin Texas on April 30, 2023; Hosted by Ying Ding
  • Building Future Applications: Decentralized Application Development with Blockchain, at Hack@CEWIT (https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/cewit/hackatcewit/schedule) at the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) at Stony Brook University; March 3, 2023; Hosted by Rong Zhao, Kathleen Ferrell, and Christopher Lange
  • “Social Computing and Blockchain: From Incentive Mechanisms to Computer-supported Cooperative Work,” 3rd International Conference of Social Computing, December 2021.
  • “Spark Webinar: An Introduction to Research Opportunities in Distributed Ledger Technologies.” Hosted by Prof. Suranga Nanayakkara; December 2020; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scpvQl86xdA
  • "Decentralized Applications Augmented with Learning and Semantics"
    • Deakin University, Melbourne Australia; November 2019; Hosted by Dr. Niroshinie Fernando, and Dr. Jong Jeong
    • University of Auckland SoCS Seminar; October 2019; Hosted by Prof. Danielle Lottridge and Prof. Rizwan Asghar
  • “Building Smart Trustworthy Decentralized Applications”, DePaul University’s Computer Science Colloquiu; Hosted by by Prof. Isuru Godage, September 2019
  • “Smart Contracts in Financial Applications”, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Financial Studies (CFS) Quantitative Finance Workshop 2019; Hosted by Prof. Aparna Gupta, September 2019

Privacy and Transparency on the Web:

  • “Enabling Appropriate Use of Information on the Web”, Harvey Mudd College Computer Science Colloquium ; Hosted by Prof. Robert Keller and Prof. Yi-Chieh Wu, April 2017
  •  “Healthcare Privacy and Intellectual Property Rights Protection with Information Accountability”, at Data Privacy Lab, Harvard University, May 2014
  • “Who? What? When? Where and Why? Towards Transparent Healthcare Applications” at 2014 EITA Conference on New Media and Biomedical Research at MIT, August 2014
  • “Accountable Systems” at TWed RPI, April 2014
  • “Transparent Web Systems” at Amazon PhD Symposium, November 2013
  • “Decentralized Provenance Management for User Managed Access” for the IETF OAuth 2.0 working group, November 2013
  • “Policy Aware Content Reuse” at Emerging Information and Technology Association – Young Investigator Conference, August 2013
  • “Accountable Web Protocols” at Library of Congress, May 2012
  • “Addressing and Identifying Privacy Leakage from Query Logs: An Accountability Approach” at Microsoft Research, June 2011
  • “Detecting Creative Commons Attribution License Violations on Flickr Images on the World Wide Web” at the Creative Commons Summit, December 2008

Knowledge Graphs:

  • “FoodKG: A Semantics Driven Knowledge Graph for Food Recommendations,” IEEE Big Data 2019 Workshop on Big Food and Nutrition Data Management Analysis, December 09, 2019
  • "Enabling Trust in Clinical Decision Support Recommendations through Semantics," University of Melbourne, Melbourne Australia; November 2019; Hosted by Prof. Karin Verspoor
  • “RDF-Powered Dialog Systems,” TWed RPI, October 2017

Mobile Application Development:

  • “Linked Data Connections” at MIT App Inventor Summit, July 2013
  • “Android Application Development” at Google DevFest, Manila, Philippines, Aug 2012

Community Outreach:

  • Navigating Industry and Academia: Insights and Strategies for a Successful Career in Computer Science, at “What’s Next?” Career Talk session at the Rochester Institute of Technology, January 2023
  • Keynote Speech at “Computer Science for All Girls,” Auburn University, Alabama, July 2013


  • Trusted AI for media and education, at DKGCon’23 (https://dkgcon.origintrail.io) on Oct 9, 2023, moderated by Zˇiga Drev, co-founder OriginTrail
  • KG in Academia, moderated by Sergio Baranzini and hosted at the Knowledge Graph Day at the Web Conference, Austin on April 30, 2023
  • Education and Research in Blockchains and Web3, hosted by Blockchain Acceleration Foundation at University of Texas, Austin on April 26, 2023
  • Technology Enablers for Financial Instruments at IEEE Services 2021 Conference, Sep 9 2021 virtual)
  • MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Panel, organized by Prof. Leslie Kolodziejski, March 6 2021 (virtual)
  • AI for Humanitarian Technologies and Disaster Management at the AAAI AI for Social Good Fall 2020 symposium, Nov 14 2020 (virtual)
  • AI for Healthcare at the AAAI AI for Social Good Fall 2020 symposium, Nov 13 2020 (virtual)
  • Expert Panel on Semantic Machine Learning at IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing 2019, Newport Beach CA, Feb 01 2019
  •  “The Future of Blockchain”, Expert Panel at the Rensselaer Silicon Valley Executive Council moderated by Dean Curt Breneman; San Jose CA; Dec 5 2018; Link: https://giving.rpi.edu/western-digital-rensselaer-panel-discussion-blockchain
  • “Applying lessons learnt from Web Science Research to Blockchain Research”, Closing Panel at the 10 years of Web Science: Closing the Loop, Dagstuhl Workshop, June 2018


The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Oshani Seneviratne has 74 indexed publications in the subjects of Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Mathematics.

Oshani Seneviratne, Amar K. Das, Shruthi Chari, Nkechinyere N. Agu, Sabbir M. Rashid, Jamie McCusker, Jade S. Franklin, Miao Qi, Kristin P. Bennett, Ching Hua Chen, James A. Hendler, Deborah L. McGuinness
Journal of Biomedical Semantics
, 14
, 2023
Oshani Seneviratne, Deborah L. McGuinness
CEUR Workshop Proceedings
, 3443
, 2023
Shruthi Chari, Prasant Acharya, Daniel M. Gruen, Olivia Zhang, Elif K. Eyigoz, Mohamed Ghalwash, Oshani Seneviratne, Fernando Suarez Saiz, Pablo Meyer, Prithwish Chakraborty, Deborah L. McGuinness
Artificial Intelligence in Medicine
, 137
, 2023
Kacy Adams, Fernando Spadea, Conor Flynn, Oshani Seneviratne
ACM Web Conference 2023 - Companion of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2023
, 2023
, pp.826-833
Kacy Adams, Deborah L. McGuinness, Oshani Seneviratne
Proceedings of the International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference, FLAIRS
, 36
, 2023
William Van Woensel, Manan Shukla, Oshani Seneviratne
CEUR Workshop Proceedings
, 3466
, 2023
Oshani Seneviratne
Proceedings - 2023 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Connected Health: Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies, CHASE 2023
, 2023
, pp.214-215
Sanjaya Mallikarachchi, Bonnie Ho, Iyad Kanj, Oshani Seneviratne, Isuru S. Godage
2023 IEEE IAS Global Conference on Emerging Technologies, GlobConET 2023
, 2023
Sanjaya Mallikarachchi, Bonnie Ho, Iyad Kanj, Oshani Seneviratne, Isuru S. Godage
2023 9th International Conference on Control, Automation and Robotics, ICCAR 2023
, 2023
, pp.141-146
Sabbir M. Rashid, Jamie McCusker, Daniel Gruen, Oshani Seneviratne, Deborah L. McGuinness
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
, 13870 LNCS
, 2023
, pp.390-407

View All Scopus Publications

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