Meet Komminist (Kommy) Weldermariam from Ethiopia, chosen at the global gathering of African scientists, the “Next Einstein Forum” that was hosted in Dakar, Senegal months back, along other 15 Africa’s most brilliant young scientists – thought one of them to be the next Einstein.
Among the delegates, a small group of 15 young African “fellows” who were selected for the impact of their work and to showcase some of the incredible research that Africa’s scientists and technologists are doing.
Their biographies, to the lay-man, look like something akin to the work of a superhero. Their resumes include; research on the ability to predict biological outbreaks that are bound to happen, the use of green chemistry to solve fresh water issues, the creation of bioreactors that could save a city’s water supply, the causes of disease and immunity and predicting global behaviour through IT systems.
Others are Challenging Einstein’s theories on quantum properties, developing better therapeutic and diagnostic tools to fight Tuberculosis and other HIV-related opportunistic infections and intelligent applications that can bridge humans and large amounts of data.
Komminist (Kommy) Weldermariam was one of them, He was born in Arba Minch, Ethiopia in a low-income family setting. Determined to get out of his harsh living conditions, he turned to education. His drive and an insatiable curiosity of how things worked led him to science. Kommy earned his Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and Master’s degree in technology from India Institute of Technology, Bombay. He earned his Doctorate degree from Trento University, Italy.
Kommy’s education and research career in development is focused on creating innovative solutions that impact lives. He is developing evidence-based solutions that aim to transform education in Africa by individualizing its delivery to each child. Success in education will create future African scientists and create citizens that can compete and position the continent on a global level.
Kommy has co-authored more than 55 scientific articles based on projects in the areas of software systems, security and education technologies. He has served as scientific committee and organizer for various conferences worldwide. He is a recipient of several awards including paper based awards, and the Experienced Level and Managerial Recognition awards from IBM.
Forbes profiled his work in their Wilds Duck podcast. Kommy believes that by deploying cognitive, mobile, and analytics technologies in poor districts, educators can create early warning systems to identify which schools – and even which students – are most at risk to fail. He is currently a Research Staff Member and Research Manager at IBM Research Africa, managing a team of world class scientists focused on Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence technologies to solve Africa’s grand challenges.
Kommy is also a Research Scientist and Manager at IBM Research – Africa. Prior to IBM, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Computing, Queen’s University (Canada) where he has focused on designing tools and techniques for automated analysis, characterization, and detection of malicious activities on the Web. He was a Research Scientist (with a tenure-track title) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Trento – Italy. At FBK, Kommy involved in the development, evaluation and formal verification of security/safety-critical systems (such as Electronic Voting Systems) as well as on the development of novel ways of using technology to foster economic and social development often targeting areas characterized by a low penetration of ICT. He was a contractual Professor at the University of Trento (Italy) and a visiting researcher in the Security Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara CA (USA).
Kommy has co-authored more than 55 scientific articles and filed more than 45 inventions. He involved in the organizing committee for various conferences/workshops in various capacities (co-chairing, program committee, etc) among which the most recent ones include: IEEE COMPSAC’14 , IEEE HASE’14, ACM SAC’15, IEEE SERE’14, ACM MobileSoft’14, MobileSoft’15, IEEE COMPSAC’15, IEEE AFRICON’15 (Track Chair).
He received a B.S. from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), A M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India) and a Ph.D. from the University of Trento (Italy), all in Computer Science. Recently, Kommy is named one of Africa’s Most Influencial Young Scientist, a fellow of the Next Einstein Forum and also honored as an Emerging Young Scientist at the World Economic Forum, 2015/2016.