About

AddisCoder students are current high schoolers who come from all across Ethiopia for 4 weeks to take the course in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. In the 2011 edition of the course, students registered themselves for the course via e-mail, whereas in 2016 onward the top-performing students are invited directly by the Ministry of Education to participate, with transportation and room and board sponsored and logistics handled by the Meles Zenawi Foundation.

The students taking the course are very strong performers in mathematics and basic sciences, often ranking amongst the top handful of students in all of Ethiopia on national exams (note: Ethiopia has a population of over 100 million!), though in the vast majority of cases have little to no experience with programming.

AddisCoder exposes these bright students to the field of computer science by teaching the basics of Python programming, as well as fundamental ideas in algorithm design and analysis. AddisCoder covers advanced topics usually not taught until at least the second year of university studies: order of growth, recurrences, induction, memoization, greedy algorithms, graph algorithms, sorting, and numerical algorithms. The course is very hands-on: class meets for 8-8.5 hours per day, including a lunch break in the middle, with only roughly 90 minutes devoted to lecture. The rest of a class day is devoted to hands-on lab exercises in which students solve problems by writing code.

A number of students have gone on to be highly successful after completing the AddisCoder program (see the alumni section below).

Alumni

Over 330 students have completed the AddisCoder program thus far. Below we highlight just a small sample of them, sorted alphabetically by last name.

Year Student Hometown Info
2011
Shalom Abate
Shalom A. Abate
Addis Ababa MIT, M.Eng. Computer Science (‘17), S.B. Computer Science (‘16). Shalom five times served as a teaching assistant for 6.046, MIT’s main introductory course in the theory of algorithm design, once winning the MIT EECS Harold L. Hazen Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching (pictured at left with MIT School of Engineering Dean Anantha Chandrakasan). Also, as an undergraduate, he interned twice at Facebook and once at Autodesk. After finishing his M.Eng. thesis in quantum communication under Prof. Peter Shor, Shalom now works as a software engineer at Google’s Cambridge, MA office.
2011
Yilkal Abe
Yilkal D. Abe
Addis Ababa Columbia University, Ph.D. Computer Science (ongoing). NYU Abu Dhabi, B.S. Computer Science (‘16). Immediately after finishing his undergraduate degree, Yilkal volunteered as a 2016 AddisCoder teaching assistant, having completed the program himself in 2011. He then worked for a year in Cambridge, United Kingdom at ARM as a Software and Modeling Engineer before beginning his Ph.D. studies at Columbia University in 2017, with research focuses in computer architecture and security.
2016
Dawit Amanu
Dawit F. Amanu
Harar Seoul National University, B.S. Computer Science and Engineering (ongoing). After achieving the second highest score in his state on the Ethiopian University Entrance Exam, Dawit went on to be accepted by the European Summer Program on Rationality at King’s College London in 2017 with full financial support, though unfortunately could not attend due to being repeatedly denied a visa to enter the United Kingdom. Later in 2017, due to his strong national examination performance, the Ethiopian government selected him to apply for a competitive undergraduate scholarship program to study in South Korea. He was recently accepted with full scholarship to attend Seoul National University, the top university in South Korea. Before beginning his studies there, his scholarship is sponsoring him to take Korean language courses at Silla University in Busan.
2011
Hilawi Belachew
Hilawi W. Belachew
Addis Ababa Harvard University, A.B. Computer Science (‘17). While an undergraduate at Harvard, Hilawi started his own introduction to computer science course in Addis Ababa, teaching both software and web development to high schoolers. He also worked as a developer and online design director for The Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. Hilawi is now a software engineer working on data and analytics for Windows at Microsoft in Redmond, WA.
2011
Mahlet Birhanu
Mahlet A. Birhanu
Addis Ababa University of Girona, Master's in Medical Imaging and Applications (ongoing). Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, B.Sc. Electrical and Computer Engineering (‘17). Mahlet is currently enrolled in an Erasmus Mundus joint degree program coordinated by the University of Girona (Spain), with University of Burgundy (France) and University of Cassino and Southern Lazio (Italy) as partners. As a student in this program, Mahlet will spend time in all three countries. After her studies, Mahlet plans to work in industry in Ethiopia, in the medical devices sector.
2016
Gatluak Chol
Gatluak Chol
Akobo St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, M.D. (ongoing). Gatluak was born in Akobo, a rural woreda that contains the westernmost point in Ethiopia, on the border with South Sudan. His parents were pastoralists who raised sheep, cattle, and goats. Though they never attended primary school and could not read and write, Gatluak decided to move to the capital city of his state, Gambela, and live with elder siblings to enroll in 1st grade when he was 13 years old. He first touched a computer in 10th grade at the age of 21, then participated in AddisCoder a year later. After being accepted in 2017 to the competitive St. Paul’s Medical School in Addis Ababa, he decided to enroll there and is now pursuing his M.D.
2016
Yonatan Delelegn
Yonatan W. Delelegn
Dessie Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), B.S.E. Electrical Engineering (ongoing). Yonatan has long been interested in physics, though he participated in AddisCoder after his junior year of high school out of curiosity to learn more about another technical field. Also in his junior year, he won first place in a statewide physics competition across Amhara Regional State, a state of population over 17 million. This feat earned him a free trip to South Africa to visit the South African National Space Agency. After his senior year, he then went on to earn the third highest score in the country on the 2017 Ethiopian University Entrance Exam. This led him to be featured in a 30-minute interview on Amhara TV, and he was later again interviewed by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. He spent a year as a medical student at Addis Ababa University before earning a full scholarship to study at KAIST.
2011
Barok Imana
Barok Y. Imana
Addis Ababa University of Maryland, College Park, Master's in Telecommunications Engineering (ongoing). Trinity College, B.Sc. Electrical Engineering (‘17), Physics (‘17). After earning the third highest score in the country on the 2011 Ethiopian University Entrance Exam, Barok studied at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology for a year before earning a full scholarship to attend Trinity College in Hartford, CT. There he participated in undergraduate research in computer science, and also was Chief Engineer in the university Robot Study Team and a volunteer robotics teacher to middle schoolers in Summer 2015 in Hartford. Barok is another AddisCoder alumnus who volunteered as a teaching assistant in the 2016 edition of the course.
2011
Basileal Imana
Addis Ababa University of Southern California, Ph.D. Computer Science (ongoing). Trinity College, B.Sc. Computer Science (‘17). Basileal, the brother of Barok (see above), also attended Trinity College on a full scholarship. Having participated in undergraduate research in both high performance computing and robotics, Basileal is now pursuing his doctoral studies with a research focus in DNS privacy.
2011
Natan Kibret
Natan F. Kibret
Addis Ababa Columbia University, B.S. Computer Science (‘17). As an undergraduate at Columbia, Natan founded Counseling and Test Preparation, Inc., an organization commited to training and mentoring Ethiopian high school students regarding the U.S. college admissions process. He is simultaneously Program Lead at Enza Academy, a program devoted to providing technology training to students of color. For his day job, Natan is currently a Technical Analyst, writing software at Computer Trust Corporation in Boston.
2011
Michael Melesse
Michael M. Melesse
Addis Ababa Princeton University, B.S. Computer Science (ongoing). Michael is currently working on his senior thesis in computer science under Prof. Szymon Rusinkiewicz in the Princeton Graphics Group on 3D reconstruction using neural networks. He has also been a volunteer for CONTACT Princeton, a crisis and suicide prevention hotline. After graduation, Michael plans to work at a machine-learning focused startup.
2016
Yosef Mihretie
Yosef E. Mihretie
Debre Markos MIT, S.B. Computer Science (ongoing), S.B. Physics (ongoing). Yosef achieved the second highest score in the country on the 2017 Ethiopian University Entrance Exam. For this feat, like Yonatan he was also featured in a 40-minute interview on Amhara TV, and was later again interviewed by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. Yosef is currently engaged in undergraduate research in physics, and he is interested in eventually pursuing research in the field of quantum computing.
2011
Fitsum Petros
Fitsum E. Petros
Addis Ababa Princeton University, B.S.E. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (ongoing). Fitsum has participated in a number of research opportunities during her undergraduate studies at Princeton, including electrochemical engineering research on batteries, fluid mechanics research related to blood hemolysis, and the development of biomedical devices to be used in treating cancer patients. After gaining work experience and pursuing further graduate study, Fitsum is interested in starting a biotechnology company back in Ethiopia.
2016
Bethelhem Wonbearga
Bethelhem D. Wonbearga
Hawassa Hawassa University, M.D. (ongoing). Beti had no prior experience with computer science but fell in love with the subject after participating in AddisCoder 2016. After graduating as valedictorian of her class of over 1000 students at Tabor Secondary and Preparatory School in 2017, Beti participated in a summer program at Harvard on innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology before returning to Ethiopia to begin her studies toward a medical degree.
2011
Michael Yitayew
Michael A. Yitayew
Addis Ababa Princeton University, B.S.E. Computer Science (‘16). Being interested in theoretical computer science, Michael pursued research in complexity theory with Prof. Mark Braverman before graduating in 2016. Like Yilkal and Barok above, Michael then volunteered as a 2016 AddisCoder teaching assistant. He is now a software engineer at NetSuite in the Bay Area.
2011
Lydia Zeleke
Lydia A. Zeleke
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, B.Sc. Electrical and Computer Engineering (‘16). Lydia began her undergraduate studies after graduating as valedictorian of her high school. After graduating, her work with a team of other recent graduates was featured on CGTN Africa for a project that could potentially impact how waste management is handled in Ethiopia. In the future, she plans to pursue doctoral studies in computer science.

Apply

We have not yet opened teaching assistant applications for future editions of the program. In the mean time join our mailing list and follow us on social media.

Support

AddisCoder will likely be accepting support from individuals in the near future. If you are potentially interested in supporting us at that time, please join our mailing list for future announcements. If you are a company that would like to support AddisCoder, please contact us. We are looking for representatives from IT-related companies to speak to our students during our program’s Career Day (in Addis Ababa), as well as corporate sponsors to fund one or more teaching assistants.

We currently acknowledge support from the following:

  • The Meles Zenawi Foundation
  • Harvard Office of Career Services
  • Several anonymous Google employees, with matching donations from Google
  • Many donors via a gofundme campaign
  • Dawat e Islami, on behalf of an anonymous donor
  • Abel Getachew

Staff

Staff for previous iterations of AddisCoder are listed below.

2018 Staff

Lecturers
Timnit Gebru
Dr. Timnit Gebru
Microsoft Research
Daniel Kang
Daniel Kang
Stanford University
Jelani Nelson
Prof. Jelani Nelson
Harvard University
Teaching Assistants
Isabelle Bouchard
Isabelle Bouchard
Element AI
Myra Cheng
Myra Cheng
Caltech
Michael Cubeddu
Michael Cubeddu
Harvard
Leello Dadi
Leello Dadi
Télécom ParisTech
Rajiv Eranki
Rajiv Eranki
Will Finigan
Will Finigan
Harvard
Heather Huynh
Heather Huynh
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Dimitar Karev
Dimitar Karev
Harvard
Mateos Kassa
Mateos Kassa
IFP Energies nouvelles
Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee
Carnegie Mellon
Arash Mahmoudian
Arash Mahmoudian
Sharif University
Michael Mekonnen
Michael Mekonnen
Google
Yosef Mihretie
Yosef Mihretie
MIT
Nathnael Minyelshowa
Nathnael Minyelshowa
Addis Ababa University
Rupal Nahar
Rupal Nahar
Carnegie Mellon
Sahaana Suri
Sahaana Suri
Stanford
Dan Wheeler
Dan Wheeler
The Last Mile


2016 Staff

Lecturers
Boaz Barak
Prof. Boaz Barak
Harvard University
Timnit Gebru
Dr. Timnit Gebru
Microsoft Research
Jelani Nelson
Prof. Jelani Nelson
Harvard University
Teaching Assistants
Yilkal Abe
Yilkal Abe
Columbia
Kidus Asfaw
Kidus Asfaw
U. Mich Ann Arbor
Brian Gu
Brian Gu
MIT
Daniel Kang
Daniel Kang
Stanford
Joanne Lee
Joanne Lee
MIT
Mikael Mengistu
Mikael Mengistu
Microsoft
Emily Mu
Emily Mu
MIT
Aaron Shim
Aaron Shim
Microsoft
Ashwath Thirumalai
Ashwath Thirumalai
MIT
Michael Yitayew
Michael Yitayew
Oracle NetSuite
Barok Imana
Barok Imana
UMD College Park


2011 Staff

Naol Duga
Naol Duga
Cryptocurrency Researcher
Co-organizer
Jelani Nelson
Prof. Jelani Nelson
Harvard University
Lecturer/Co-organizer
Imnet Worku
Imnet Worku
Artisan Technologies PLC
Teaching Assistant

History

Planning for the first edition of AddisCoder began in Spring 2011, when Prof. Jelani Nelson founded the program while finishing his Ph.D. in computer science at MIT. The course then ran from July 4th to July 29th later that year, being co-organized with Naol Duga and held at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology campus of Addis Ababa University. The facilities were provided by the Electrical Engineering department, under the then deanship of Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (now Ethiopia’s Minister of Science and Technology)…

To read more, click here.