Rediet Abebe

Ph.D. Student, Cornell University
Department of Computer Science
Gates Hall, Theory Office (336)
Curriculum Vitae: PDF

I'm broadly interested in problems at the interface of computer science and social sciences including: social and information networks, computational social science, mechanism design, and algorithms. I'm very fortunate to be advised by Professor Jon Kleinberg. Currently, I am working on problems in:

  • social networks and socioeconomic inequality,
  • mechanism design for social good,
  • opinion formation and dynamics in social networks, and
  • information flow and discrete cascading behavior in networks.
I'm thrilled to have Professors David Parkes (Harvard CS), Kilian Weinberger (Cornell CS), and Michael Macy (Cornell Sociology) on my dissertation committee. My primary affiliation is with the Theory of Computing group. I am also a member of the Social Dynamics Laboratory and the Center for the Study of Inequality. I spent this past summer at Microsoft Research, New England, where I had the privilage of working with Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier.

I completed an M.S. at Harvard University under the advising of Professor David Parkes in the EconCS and Theory of Computation groups. I also did Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge (Pembroke College), as the Harvard-Cambridge Scholar. I was supervised by Dr. Felix Fischer. My interest in computer science took root during a summer at the University of Chicago with Professor László Babai.

I hold a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard College. My senior thesis was supervised by Professors Michael Hopkins and Richard Stanley (MIT). As an undergraduate, I spent summers working with Professor J. Peter May (University of Chicago) on finite topological spaces and Professor Victor Reiner (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) on spectral graph theory.

Short Bio: I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia known as the birthplace of coffee, world-class runners, Lucy, a more sensible time convention, and its own alphabet. I've been interested in education reform and policy and volunteered for various programs supporting underrepresented groups since high school.

Some Recent News

  •    Here is a video of me talking about my experience at Microsoft Research-New England!
  •    I'm organizing a reading group on Mechanism Design for Social Good with fellow graduate student Kira Goldner (University of Washington)!
  •    I served on the Program Committee for the research track on Social Networks & Graph Analysis at the 26th World Wide Web Conference (WWW) in Perth, Australia!
  •    I'm honored to be awarded the 2016-2017 Google Generation Scholarship!
  •    I've been selected to serve as a Graduate Resident Fellow at Alice Cook House for the 2016/17 academic year!
  •    My (undergraduate) research on breast cancer mortality has been ranked 79 on the Altmetric Top 100 Academic Articles of 2015. This rank measures research articles across numerous fields that have gotten the most attention in media forums and social networks.


  • Fair Division via Social Comparison
    Rediet Abebe, Jon Kleinberg, and David Parkes
    In Proc. of the 16th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS '17)
  • Mitigating Overexposure in Viral Marketing
    Rediet Abebe, Lada Adamic, and Jon Kleinberg
  • Opinion Optimization with Stubborn Agents
    Rediet Abebe, Jon Kleinberg, David Parkes and Charalampos Tsourakakis
    (Ongoing work)
  • Mechanism Design for Allocation Problems
    Rediet Abebe, Richard Cole, Vasilis Gkatzelis, and Jason Hartline
    (Ongoing work)
  • Laplacian Eigenvalues of Simplicial Complexes
    Rediet Abebe
    (In preparation for submission)
  • Breast Cancer Screening, Incidence, and Mortality Across US Counties.
    Charles Harding, Francesco Pompei, Dmitriy Burminstrov, H. Gilbert Welch, Rediet Abebe, and Richard Wilson
    In JAMA Internal Medicine, Sept. 2015

    News coverage: The Huffington Post, Vox, FiveThirtyEight, Forbes, U.S. News, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, NPR, L.A. Times, MinnPost, Medical News Today, Tech Times, Baltimore Sun, ... , and even the Onion!
  • Long-Distance Spin-Spin Coupling via Floating Gates
    with Luka Trifunovic, Oliver Dial, Mircea Trif, James R Wootton, Rediet Abebe, Amir Yacoby, and Daniel Loss
    In Physical Review X, Jan. 2012


See also coursework:

Cornell University

  • (Fall 2016, Spring 2017) Graduate Resident Fellow, Alice Cook House: hold weekly office hours for coursework, academic, and career guidance for undergraduates in mathematics, computer science, information science, microeconomics, and operations research.

Harvard University

  • (Fall 2014, Spring 2015) Tutor, Cabot House: Provided academic and career guidance for undergraduates interested in math and computer science through weekly office hours.
  • (Spring 2013) Teaching Fellow, Math 21b: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • (Fall 2011) Course Assistant, Freshman Seminar 21u: Calculating Pi
  • (Fall 2010) Course Assistant, Freshman Seminar 21u: Calculating Pi

University of Chicago

  • (Summer 2013) Teaching Assistant, Linear Algebra and Combinatorics
  • (Summer 2013) Graduate Research Supervisor: I supervised three research projects for students enrolled in the summer REU
    1. Probabilistic analysis of information sharing protocols (presentation at QCrypt 2014) [PDF]
    2. Irreducible representations of the symmetric group [PDF]
    3. Book-embedding of k-partite graphs [PDF]


I took courses in purple as an undergraduate and courses in green as a graduate student.

  • Cornell graduate level: Advanced Programming Languages, Machine Learning the Future, Big Data Systems: Trends and Challenges, Advanced Topics in Machine Learning, Machine Learning for Data Science, Analysis of Algorithms
  • Harvard graduate level Social Data Mining, Differential Privacy, Advanced Artificial Intelligence, Bio-inspired Multi-Agent Systems, Mechanism Design and Approximation, Decision Theory, Evolutionary Dynamics, Complex Analysis, Algebraic Topology, Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes, Commutative Algebra, Algebraic Geometry, Graph Limits Theory
  • Cambridge graduate level: Mathematics of Operations Research, Extremal and Probabilistic Combinatorics, Designing Online Contests, Logic and Computation, Biostatistics
  • Cambridge undergraduate level: Probability and Measure
  • Harvard selected undergraduate level: Machine Learning (audit), Algebraic Combinatorics, Abstract Algebra I: Theory of Groups and Vector Spaces, Abstract Algebra II: Theory of Rings and Fields, Topology I: Topological Spaces and the Fundamental Group, Topology II: Smooth Manifolds, Introduction to Mathematical Logic, Introduction to Applied Mathematics, Microeconomic Theory
  • Selected Activities

  • Alice Cook House: I am a Graduate Resident Fellow (GRF) in this residential house at Cornell University, where I have the privilage of working with the House Professor-Dean, Assistant Dean, fellow GRFs, Student Assistants and House Fellows to create a positive, vibrant, and academically engaging community through leadership and mentorship roles including:
    • providing academic support through weekly office hours
    • modeling and maintaining community standards, and
    • building community by organizing numerous intellectual and social events each week.
  • Graduate School Recruitment Office: as a Graduate Student Ambassador, I assist in actively recruiting underrepresented minority and first generation students to the graduate school through on and off campus recruitment events and providing guidance and mentoring to prospective graduate students.
  • Girls' Angle: I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing women in math to nurture and foster girls' interest in mathematics since fall of 2009. I've also been involved with a range of other tasks including organizing various events and representing Girls' Angle at the annual NYC FIRST Robotics competitions.
  • Gender Inclusivity in Mathematics: I was a panelist for the "Gender Gap in Math" discussion held in April 2015 (in response to a survey) and again for the first Women in Math and Statistics (WIMS) conference in April 2016. The discussions from the first panel served as a starting point for the creation of GIIM--a vibrant and expanding group, thanks to the tireless efforts of the board, faculty advisors, and active participants! If you are in the Cambridge area, there are a series of great events lined up!
  • Harvard College Math Review: I was a two term Editor-in-Chief of this student-run publication. My job included selecting staff, planning publication time-line, choosing and editing content, managing subscriptions, and events associated with the publication. Here are the two issues under my leadership: Vol. 3 & Vol. 4.
  • The Harvard Crimson (News Editor and Junior Executive): I have written over 50 articles, most of which are related to city politics and Cambridge Public Schools. My articles have been referenced and highlighted in various domains outside of the Harvard Crimson, including wikipedia and Boston Teacher Residency.
    Sample Work: Taking the School Committee Back to School.
  • Other Activities: Women in Computing at Cornell (graduate mentor), Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (member), Pembroke College Stokes Society (member), Phillips Brooks House Association (Stride Rite Fellow) Harvard African Students Association (member), Harvard Black Students Association (member)
  • Some Cool Grads

    Throughout grad school, I've had frequent opportunities to hear about the work of some amazing fellow graduate students. Their research is not entirely related to mine, but is really interesting! Check them out!

    • Ben Green (collective intelligence, open data, public policy)
    • Diana Cai (machine learning, statistics, optimization)
    • Dylan Foster (learning, algorithms, optimization)
    • Ellora Derenoncourt (fairness preferences, optimal redistribution, economic history)
    • Hamsa Sridhar Bastani (streamlining operations and designing incentives in healthcare)
    • Heidi Liu (behavioral law & economics, judgment & decision making, gender disparities )