I am a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. I completed my Ph.D. in Computer Science at Cornell University, where I was advised by Jon Kleinberg. I also hold an M.S. in computer science from Cornell University, an M.S. in applied mathematics from Harvard SEAS, an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University.

Research Interests

My research broadly falls in the fields of AI and algorithms, with a focus on equity and social good concerns. I design and analyze algorithmic, discrete optimization, and network-based techniques to improve access to opportunity for historically underserved communities. Specifically, I tackle algorithmic and computational challenges that arise when focusing on two types of interventions: one in the form of allocating societal resources and another in the form of improving access to information. My work has provided new mathematical and computational frameworks for a range of problems including modeling and analyzing susceptibility to income shocks and poverty, segregation in networks, and disparities in access to health information.

As part of this research mission, I co-founded and co-organize Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG), an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research initiative and workshop series. My work is informed by collaborations with researchers in related disciplines and domain experts from various government and non-government organizations. Throughout 2019, I served on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on AI. Our report and recommendations were approved by the ACD to be enacted by the NIH.

Winter News and Presentations

  • Talks: recently gave talks at MIT, Princeton, UW, GaTech, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, Northeastern, and Harvard.
  • AAAI: presented our work on subsidy allocations in the presence of income shocks. [PDF]
  • PLSC: our paper on data sharing in Africa has been accepted to PLSC. Preliminary version at the ML4D workshop (NeurIPS '19) and the Contested Data Workshop at Data & Society.
  • SODA: presented our work on a truthful mechanism for one-sided matching. [PDF]
  • TheWebConf: our work on quantifying community characteristics of maternal mortality has been accepted to TheWebConf '20.
  • In the news: my work recently appeared in ELLE, BBC News (also translated into Afaan Oromoo and Tigrinya), Atlanta Black Star, NewsOne, Face2Face Africa, African Shapers, Cornell Sun, Social Work Today, Quartz, POCIT, Tadias, Cornell Research, and others.
  • NIH Report: our AI Working Group recommendations were passed unanimously by the general director's advisory committee. [See report]
  • FAT*: our work on roles for computing in social change has been accepted to FAT*. [PDF]
  • NeurIPS: presented our work on network segregation at the AI4SG Workshop. [PDF]
  • Track/Area Chair: serving as an area chair for ICML '20 and as a CS track chair for FAT* 20.
  • SPC/PC: served as an SPC for AI for Social Impact track at AAAI and as a PC for EC '20 and TheWebConf '20.
  • MIT TR35: honored as a pioneer in the MIT Tech Review's 35 Under 35 list.

  • About Me

    I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- home to Lucy, a more sensible time convention, its own alphabet, the birthplace of coffee, and 13 months of sunshine. I am a proud graduate of the Ethiopian National Curriculum. I am passionate about increasing representation, inclusion, and belonging of marginalized communities in computing. I co-founded and serve on the Board of Directors for Black in AI.