Date Posted: 4/05/2021

Rediet Abebe, Ph.D. '19, is profiled in Quanta Magazine about her approach to applying theoretical computer science to better understand social problems. Advised by Jon Kleinberg at Cornell, she has been appointed to the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Berkeley. At present, she is also a Junior Fellow of Harvard's Society of Fellows. In recent years, she received a Cornell Social Justice Award and a SIGKDD Doctoral Dissertation Award, and was named on the lists Bloomberg 50: One to Watch and MIT Technology Review, 35 Innovators Under 35. In the interview with Quanta, she's asked about her research community within computer science, to which Abebe replies:

I’m one of the co-founders and an organizer for Mechanism Design for Social Good. We started in 2016 as a small online reading group that was interested in understanding how we can use techniques from theoretical computer science, economics and operations research communities to improve access to opportunity. We were inspired by how algorithmic and mechanism design techniques have been used in problems like improving kidney exchange and the way students are assigned to schools. We wanted to explore where else these techniques, combined with insights from the social sciences and humanistic studies, can be used.

The group grew steadily. Now it’s massive and spans over 50 countries and multiple disciplines, including computer science, economics, operations research, sociology, public policy and social work.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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As Rediet Abebe Earns a Ph.D., a First for Cornell Computer Science