Hedda R. Schmidtke obtained her PhD from the University of Hamburg (Germany) in 2004 for work on granularity and level of detail mechanisms in artificial and natural cognitive systems. With a focus on the foundations of higher cognition and the interface between perception and reasoning, she worked on several application-oriented projects where this interface was of core concern, especially in the area of pervasive/ubiquitous computing (ubicomp).
In ubicomp scenarios as well as in the brain, both distributed sensory data acquisition and (potentially distributed) logical reasoning about these data play a key role. During this time, she worked at research universities on four continents, including the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Carnegie Mellon University (USA), and the ICT Center of Excellence (Rwanda). Her last appointment was with the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon (USA). After a breakthrough on her long-term foundational research goal, she currently is a fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute of Advanced Study (HWK). At HWK, she tests the next level of her cognitive architecture on a critical thought experiment from ethics, the Trolley Problem, combining causal reasoning and context-dependent levels of empathy.