Welcome!

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Cornell University, where I am advised by Jon Kleinberg. My general areas of interest are algorithms, artificial intelligence, and their applications to social good. My research uses computational techniques to improve access to opportunity for communities for whom opportunities have historically been limited. My work is deeply informed by insights from economics and sociology. There are three strands to my work:

  • using computational techniques to deepen our understanding of hard-to-measure dimensions of socioeconomic inequality,
  • introducing fair and efficient mechanisms and protocols for allocating societal resources in domains including housing, health, and education, and
  • informing targeted education and algorithmic intervention efforts for improving societal welfare.

    To facilitate research at this interface, I co-founded and co-organize the following two initiatives:

  • Mechanism Design for Social Good: an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research initiative with the goal of using algorithmic and mechanism design insights to improve access to opportunity, which I co-organize with Kira Goldner and Irene Lo.
    See also co-chaired workshops [EC 2017, EC 2018], co-organized [colloquium series, working groups, research group].
  • Black in AI: a transcontinental group aimed at increasing the presence and inclusion of Black researchers in the field of AI. The group has over 1000 members from over 30 countries.
    See also co-chaired workshops [NIPS 2017, NeurIPS 2018].
  • My work has been generously supported by fellowships and scholarships through Facebook (2017-2019), Google (2016-2017), and the Cornell Graduate School (2015-2016). I am also a 2013-2014 Harvard Cambridge Scholar.

    At Cornell, my primary affiliation is with the Theory of Computing and the AI, Policy, and Practice groups. In addition, I'm a member of the Center for the Study of Inequality and the Social Dynamics Laboratory in the Department of Sociology.

    My dissertation committee comprises Michael Macy (Cornell Sociology), David Parkes (Harvard CS), and Kilian Weinberger (Cornell CS). I have also worked with Shawndra Hill, Andy Schwartz, and Jenn Wortman Vaughan as a research intern in the Microsoft Research, New York computational social science group (summer, 2017) and Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier as a research intern in the Microsoft Research, New England theory group (summer, 2016).

    Prior to Cornell, I was a graduate student in the EconCS group at Harvard University, where I was advised by David Parkes and a Harvard-Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge. I studied mathematics at Harvard College, advised by Michael Hopkins and Richard Stanely. I spent summers doing research in combinatorics at University of Chicago and University of Minnesota with Peter May and Victor Reiner, respectively. My interest in computer science took root during a summer at the University of Chicago with László Babai.

    About Me

    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 am a proud graduate of the Ethiopian National Curriculum and the International Community School of Addis Ababa, which I attended through a merit-based scholarship offered to four students from across the country. I've been interested in education, housing, and poverty related issues since high school and volunteer for various related programs.

    I'm also passionate about undergraduate teaching and mentoring. I currently live in Hans Bethe House on Cornell's Undergraduate West Campus House System. I was previously a Graduate Resident Fellow at Alice Cook House at Cornell and prior to that a non-resident tutor at Cabot House in the undergraduate house system at Harvard.

    CV: [PDF]

    Email: red@cs.{university_name}.edu