Roads of Progress

Tembine Hamidou did not expect his research on Abu Dhabi roads to lead him across Africa

Tembine Hamidou did not expect his research on Abu Dhabi roads to lead him across Africa but now his energy and transportation works at NYU Abu Dhabi have earned him a distinction that will carry him to many parts of his native continent, as a Next Einstein Fellow.

Hamidou, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, says his selection for this honor will be good for him, for science in his native continent, and for the university.

Born in Mali and educated mainly in France, Hamidou is one of just 16 fellows, from 14 African countries, chosen by the Rwanda-based Next Einstein Forum (NEF) which works to advance science and education in Africa. “There is an international committee that makes the selection, and I am deeply honored to be part of NEF,” Hamidou said.

By supporting travel for fellows, New Einstein Fellow grants serve two purposes, Hamidou said. First, “for the two years of the fellowship, five or six times a year I will be able to go to meetings to present what my research group is doing. It’s a great opportunity for me to explain my work.”

Global Networking

The 16 fellows will also, by their example, encourage young faculty members and graduate students across Africa, where science research and education face many challenges.

“We travel and meet researchers who don’t have many chances to talk to other scientists,” he said, “and we will start collaborating with some of them.” Faculty and PhD students in some parts of Africa can be somewhat isolated, he explained, and contact with a global network of advanced research is intensely needed.

In NYUAD’s Learning and Game Theory group, Hamidou studies “complex multi-agent interactive systems” such as energy systems and urban traffic using mean-field game theory. Peakhour toll pricing, one subject he studies, has the potential to even out traffic flows and reduce rush-hour congestion, provided the system is well-designed.