Joint Centers of Excellence Program
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Abdullah Almaatouq

Research Specialist
Center for Complex Engineering Systems

M.S. Student
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Human Dynamics Group
MIT Media Lab + Center for Computational Engineering

Abdullah is currently a Computational Engineering Master's student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Research Assistant at the MIT Media Laboratory under the supervision of Prof. Alex "Sandy" Pentland. He also holds a Research Specialist position at the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) and MIT. He received his bachelor degree from the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton University in the United Kingdom.

Abdullah's current research interests lie in the area where machine learning, statistical inference, complex networks, and social science meet. Abdullah is passionate about people, their stories, and how they can be understood computationally. Despite the common perception that human actions are chaotic and unpredictable, humans exhibit regular, reproducible patterns. Studying the dynamics of human communications and information sharing behavior has multiple practical benefits. He is specially interested in its application to enhance the capacity of public safety organizations.

Since joining CCES, he has been developing tools and frameworks to gain insight into behavioral patterns within large datasets. For example, while working on the Cyber Security Initiative project (CSI), he worked on developing techniques and frameworks for data mining and machine learning in security-related contexts (e.g., spam, network traffic, system transactions etc.). He is also part of the City Dynamics project, where he develops mixture of modeling and analysis methods to better understand the dynamics of population demand and infrastructure supply within the cities, using digital traces such as mobile traces and social media data.

Some of Abdullah's interesting life experiences include winning the 2013 Bicoastal Datafest (Stanford & Columbia) 'Best in Innovation' prize, explaining the Origin-Destination Matrix and its role to exploit human mobility patterns to the Saudi Royalty (governors and mayors), and obtaining a black-belt status in Taekwondo from the Korean federation at the age of 14.