Date Posted: 6/25/2019

Rediet Abebe, cofounder of the Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) initiative and a CS Ph.D. candidate at Cornell, has been honored as one of MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35 for her work using algorithms and AI to improve access to opportunity for historically underserved and marginalized communities. Every year, the world-renowned media company recognizes a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world. For her groundbreaking work, Abebe has been named a Pioneer.

Abebe's research leverages computational and algorithmic techniques—along with insights from economics, sociology, and public policy—to understand, measure, and mitigate socioeconomic inequalities. Her work ranges from modeling economic disadvantage in order to improve allocation of key societal resources to analyzing large web-based datasets to shed light on underserved populations' needs. In a recent publication, she uses search data to uncover unmet health information needs of individuals in Africa. This is the first work to use large web-based data to study health across all 54 nations on the continent.

Her innovative contributions have not only spurred further research in computer science and other disciplines, but have also led to engagements with various government and non-governmental organizations. Throughout 2019 she is serving on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on AI, where she is working alongside a group of AI and health experts to identify new ways for AI to help mitigate health disparities in the US and create frameworks for identifying and addressing ethical considerations when using AI for health. 

This summer Abebe will join the Harvard Society of Fellows. As the sixth computer scientist and first female computer scientist to belong to the Society, she plans to draw on the fellowship's broad range of disciplines to further harness AI in support of societal welfare for disadvantaged communities. At the Society of Fellows, she will continue to build on the Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) research agenda and co-organize the MD4SG initiative, which has membership from researchers from over 15 countries and over 40 institutions.

Gideon Lichfield, editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review, said: “MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 list is a chance for us to honor the outstanding people behind the breakthrough technologies of the year that have the potential to disrupt our lives. These profiles offer a glimpse into what the face of technology looks like today as well as in the future.”

Learn more about this year’s honorees on the MIT Technology Review website and in the July/August print edition of the magazine (released July 2nd). The honorees are also invited to appear at the upcoming EmTech MIT conference, MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship event that offers a carefully curated perspective on the most significant developments of the year, with a focus on understanding their potential economic and societal impact. EmTech MIT will be held September 17-19, 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

About MIT Technology Review

Founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1899, MIT Technology Review is a world-renowned, independent media company whose insight, analysis, reviews, interviews and live events explain the commercial, social and political impact of new technologies. MIT Technology Review derives its authority from the world's foremost technology institution and from its editors' deep technical knowledge, capacity to see technologies in their broadest context, and unequaled access to leading innovators and researchers. MIT Technology Review’s mission is to bring about better-informed and more conscious decisions about technology through authoritative, influential and trustworthy journalism.

About EmTech MIT

Launched in 1999, MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship conference has a longstanding legacy of exploring the biggest technologies and trends of the day. On September 17-29, 2019, EmTech MIT will offer a carefully curated perspective on the most significant developments of the year, including artificial intelligence, climate adaption, personalized medicine, data security, and more. Part of the esteemed EmTech Event Series, this conference conducts a deep dive into how these technologies impact society, research, education, and life as we know it. Hosted on the MIT campus in Cambridge MA, EmTech MIT features conversations from innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, industry leaders and some of the world’s most brilliant minds. In addition, MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 are all invited to appear at the event, representing the best and brightest technologists the world has to offer. Learn more.