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 2011 in the first edition of the course, students registered themselves for the course via e-mail. Since 2016, the program has grown much larger into a collaborative effort between AddisCoder Inc. and the Meles Zenawi Foundation, attracting top students from all regions of Ethiopia with help from the Ministry of Education.

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 90-120 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 500 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 and served as a 2019 AddisCoder teaching assistant.
2011
Yilkal Abe
Yilkal D. Abe
Addis Ababa NYU Abu Dhabi, B.S. Electrical Engineering (‘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 in computer science at Columbia University in 2017, with research focuses in computer architecture and security. He has since left the Ph.D. program for industry and now works at Google.
2018
Hailemichael Alemneh
Hailemichael S. Alemneh
Bahir Dar Stanford University, B.S. Computer Science (ongoing). Immediately after finishing AddisCoder 2018, Hailemichael along with other AddisCoder alumni Henok Ademtew and Nigusu Yenework ran a mini-version of AddisCoder ("AddisCoder Beta") in their hometown of Bahir Dar, at the local STEM center.
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 accepted with full scholarship to attend Seoul National University, the top university in South Korea. Before he began his studies there, his scholarship sponsored him to take Korean language courses at Silla University in Busan.
2019
Lwam Araya
Lwam Z. Araya
Shire KAIST, B.S.E. Computer Science (ongoing). Lwam recently graduated from Kallamino Special High School, a magnet school in Mek'ele that attracts top high school students from all over the Tigray region. Growing up, Lwam always wanted to be a medical doctor. Though later in high school, she realized her passion for math and physics and managed to place as a finalist in Ethiopia's first nationwide "Mind Plus Math" competition. After participating in AddisCoder, she now wants to study computer science when she enrolls at KAIST as a Freshman in Fall 2020. In the future, Lwam wants to create software that aides the medical field.
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 (‘19). Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, B.Sc. Electrical and Computer Engineering (‘17). Mahlet completed 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 spent time in all three countries. She now works as a research software engineer in Rotterdam.
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 MIT, S.B. Aerospace 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. After a year at KAIST, he transferred to MIT. Yonatan served as a 2019 AddisCoder teaching assistant.
2011
Derara Hailegeorgis
Derara H. Hailegeorgis
Addis Ababa Stony Brook University, Ph.D. Applied Mathematics (ongoing). NYU Abu Dhabi, B.A. Mathematics (‘16). Immediately after finishing his undergraduate degree, Derara worked on environmental fluid dynamics research at NYU for six months, then climate research at the Center for Prototype Climate Modeling for three years in Abu Dhabi. He was recently accepted to and will soon begin his Ph.D. studies in applied mathematics at Stony Brook.
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. He served as an AddisCoder teaching assistant in 2018
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 (‘18). Michael completed a 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 joined AMD as a software engineer.
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. He served as an AddisCoder teaching assistant in 2018.
2011
Abraham K. Negash
Abraham K. Negash
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, B.Sc. Mechanical engineering (‘17). A maker and tinkerer, Abraham for his bachelor's thesis developed a planar CNC machine for cutting leather. He's since joined a small software startup in Addis Ababa working on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), i.e. drones. He's also independently prototyped a sanitary pad dispensing machine to be used at schools. In the future, Abraham is interested in pursuing a PhD in aerospace or computational engineering. He served as an AddisCoder teaching assistant in 2019.
2011
Fitsum Petros
Fitsum E. Petros
Addis Ababa Columbia University, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering (ongoing). Princeton University, B.S.E. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (‘18). Fitsum 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.
2019
Mahderekal Regassa
Mahderekal G. Regassa
Addis Ababa Wellesley College (ongoing). Mahderekal is a gap year student who graduated from Lideta Catholic Cathedral High school in 2019. She is planning to major in Astrophysics with a Computer Science minor when she starts as a Freshman in Fall 2020. She aspires to pursue a graduate degree then become an astronaut in the future, then to eventually open a space program in Ethiopia.
2018
Natnael Teshome
Natnael M. Teshome
Adama Harvard University (ongoing). Natnael grew up in a small town called Huruta, in the Arsi zone of the Oromia region, then moved to Adama in Grade 10. Though he never thought to study computer science before joining AddisCoder, he now wants to pursue a joint concentration in computer science and economics. He recently graduated from St. Joseph Catholic High Schoool in Adama and will enroll at Harvard as a Freshman in Fall 2020.
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.
2019
Lisa Wondimu
Lisa H. Wondimu
Addis Ababa Mount Holyoke College (ongoing). Lisa recently graduated from the School of Redemption and will enroll at Mount Holyoke College as a Freshman in Fall 2020. She has been interested in computer science ever since she started taking basic courses in her elementary school, but she didn’t see a future in it until attending AddisCoder. In college she plans to double major in computer science and economics and currently plans to pursue a future career as a software architect.
2018
Nigusu Yenework
Nigusu S. Yenework
Bahir Dar Cornell University, B.S. Computer Science (ongoing). As mentioned above, immediately after finishing AddisCoder 2018, Nigusu along with other AddisCoder alumni Henok Ademtew and Hailemichael Alemneh ran a mini-version of AddisCoder ("AddisCoder Beta") in their hometown of Bahir Dar, at the local STEM center.
2019
Hileamlak Yitayew
Hileamlak M. Yitayew
Bahir Dar Harvard University (ongoing). Hileamlak is currently a senior at both Tana Haik high school and the Bahir Dar University STEM Center. It had always been Hileamlak's childhood dream to be a physicist, though now he's also considering studying computer science and/or mathematics when he enrolls at Harvard as a Freshman in Fall 2020.
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. This project led to a 2019 publication in the annual Computational Complexity Conference, the main international conference focused on computational complexity theory. Like Yilkal and Barok above, Michael then volunteered as a 2016 AddisCoder teaching assistant. After graduation he worked as a software engineer at Oracle NetSuite for a couple years before joining Google to work on YouTube.
2011
Lydia Zeleke
Lydia A. Zeleke
Addis Ababa North Carolina A&T State University, Ph.D. Computer Engineering (ongoing). 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 Fall 2019, she began her Ph.D. studies in computer engineering.

Apply

AddisCoder 2020 has unfortunately been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will accept applications from both high school students and prospective teaching assistants in a few months. Please follow us on social media for announcements of the application release.

Staff

Staff for the various iterations of AddisCoder are listed below.

2020 Staff

(unfortunately our 2020 program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Lecturers
Boaz Barak
Prof. Boaz Barak
Harvard University
Timnit Gebru
Dr. Timnit Gebru
Google Brain
Daniel Kang
Daniel Kang
Stanford University
Teaching Assistants
Akayou Adane
Akayou Adane
AAiT
Kidist Amde
Kidist Amde
AIMS-AMMI
Joy Bestourous
Joy Bestourous
Brown
Lensa Billion
Lensa Billion
AAiT
Rowan Cheung
Rowan Cheung
MIT
Nebiyou Daniel
Nebiyou Daniel
Addis Ababa University
Bilal Daqqah
Bilal Daqqah
MIT
Mahlet Dereje
Mahlet Dereje
AAiT
Yeabsira Driba
Yeabsira Driba
AAiT
Daniel Fan
Daniel Fan
UC Berkeley
Mamo Fideno
Mamo Fideno
Jimma University
Owen Gong
Owen Gong
UC Berkeley
Maximillian Guo
Maximillian Guo
Harvard
Menbere Hailu
Menbere Hailu
University of Gondar
James Hulett
James Hulett
UC Berkeley
Workneh Fola
Workneh Fola
Harvard
Jiin Jeong
Jiin Jeong
Hamilton College
Naomi Jung
Naomi Jung
UC Berkeley
Ruth Kehali
Ruth Kehali
Debre Birhan University
Kavya Kesavan
Kavya Kesavan
University of Chicago
Shilpa Kesavan
Shilpa Kesavan
Proof School
Bartosz Kostka
Bartosz Kostka
University of Wrocław
Neha Kunjal
Neha Kunjal
UC Berkeley
Chester Leung
Chester Leung
UC Berkeley
Belayneh Mathewos
Belayneh Mathewos
Dilla University
Bisirat Mathewos
Bisirat Mathewos
Addis Ababa University
Noam Mazor
Noam Mazor
Tel Aviv University
Natnael Mekuria
Natnael Mekuria
Harvard
Claire Murphy
Claire Murphy
Santa Clara University
Max Ovsiankin
Max Ovsiankin
UC Berkeley
Kyle Rentschler
Kyle Rentschler
UC Berkeley
Maedin Seid
Maedin Seid
AAiT
Amir Shahatit
Amir Shahatit
UC Berkeley
Estifanos Sisay
Estifanos Sisay
AAiT
Welay Teka
Welay Teka
Mek'ele Institute of Technology
Abel Tesfaye
Abel Tesfaye
Addis Ababa University
Berhane Weldegebriel
Berhane Weldegebriel
KAIST

2019 Staff

Lecturers
Boaz Barak
Prof. Boaz Barak
Harvard University
Timnit Gebru
Dr. Timnit Gebru
Google Brain
Hailey James-Sorenson
Hailey James-Sorenson
Harvard University
Teaching Assistants
Shalom Abate
Shalom Abate
Google
Fetulhak Abdurahman
Fetulhak Abdurahman
Jimma University
Akayou Adane
Akayou Adane
AAiT
Abebe Amare
Abebe Amare
Duke
Kidist Amde
Kidist Amde
University of Gondar
Henok Biadglign
Henok Biadglign
Blessed G/Michael Catholic School
Theodoros Constantinides
Theodoros Constantinides
University of Bristol
Nebiyou Daniel
Nebiyou Daniel
Addis Ababa University
Yonatan Delelegn
Yonatan Delelegn
MIT
Wenhao Du
Wenhao Du
Vanderbilt
Nebiyu Elias
Nebiyu Elias
Debre Birhan University
Darartu Gamada
Darartu Gamada
Harvard
Nikhil Garg
Nikhil Garg
Stanford
Theresa Gebert
Theresa Gebert
Carnegie Mellon
Chala Getu
Chala Getu
AAiT
Natnael Habtamu
Natnael Habtamu
AAiT
Luel Hagos
Luel Hagos
Mek'ele Institute of Technology
Taylor James-Sorenson
Taylor James-Sorenson
MIT
Abraham Kassahun
Abraham Kassahun
Aionlab
Eyosias Kassahun
Eyosias Kassahun
Cyber Army Development Institute
Joon Young Kim
Joon Young Kim
Harvard
Stephen Koo
Stephen Koo
Google
Ouassim Marrakchi
Ouassim Marrakchi
Harvard
Belayneh Mathewos
Belayneh Mathewos
AAiT
Goitom Mekonen
Goitom Mekonen
Adigrat University
Charilaos Pipis
Charilaos Pipis
NTU Athens
Artem Ryabov
Artem Ryabov
Higher School of Economics
Mohammed Seid
Mohammed Seid
ASTU
Gargi Sharma
Gargi Sharma
Monica Song
Monica Song
Harvard
Berhane Weldegebriel
Berhane Weldegebriel
KAIST
Senay Wondimteka
Senay Wondimteka
Wolkite University
Yosef Worku
Yosef Worku
AAiT
Carrie Wu
Carrie Wu
Stanford
Bruk Zewdie
Bruk Zewdie
Columbia
Andrew Zuckerman
Andrew Zuckerman
Harvard


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
University of Waterloo
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.