As a Scientist
I am a Doctoral Researcher at the Computer Science Department of Aalto University, where I work on Networks under Mikko Kivelä. I’ve grown up in the Physics culture, and I like borrowing the tools and perspective of that field and trying to combine them with new ideas and techniques to tackle interdisciplinary problems. I’m focused on Network Epidemiology, a type of Mathematical/Computational Epidemiology. I develop reasonably simple mathematical models to investigate how pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions influence epidemics. As a member of the NordicMath Covid project, I’ve worked alongside scientists and policymakers to develop and implement strategies to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. I also write for the public about science at sitpor.org. I believe in stories; that’s why I’ve been learning and practicing writing and talking with good narratives since my undergrad years. In March 2022, I received the Charkh Award for Best Persian Science Blog from Iran National TV (IRIB TV 4).
I use fancy math to determine how bad things can get when a virus spreads like wildfire. Like how many people could get sick and all that. And then, I try to answer questions like how many people we have to vaccinate to kick COVID or the flu to the curb. I’m very keen on facing problems arising from any discipline or everyday life that I can tackle with my skills. Problems that are usually addressed under umbrella terms of Complex Systems, Network Science, and Non-equilibrium Statistical Physics.
I got my BSc in Solid State Physics (2016) and my MSc (2018) in Physics of Complex Systems from Shahid Beheshti University (SBU) in Tehran. I worked on cancer for my MSc project at SBU’s Center For Complex Networks & Social Data Science (CCNSD). My MSc project aimed to infer/learn the weight of the Gene Regulatory Networks (GRN)’s links in the case of Breast Cancer with a maximum entropy approach. Then, given the networks of cancerous and healthy cells, compare their networks. In a nutshell, my previous works revolved around signed networks and balance theory, but during my doctoral studies, I shifted my focus to temporal networks and the study of spreading phenomena. In particular, I have been extensively involved in modeling interventions for epidemics.
Out of Science
I’m a Persian based in Helsinki, Finland. My first name is Abbas, an Arabic name for the “Lion King,” and [æbˈbɒːs] is the way that I like to be called! My last name is “Karimi Rizi,” and I often go by K. Rizi. “Riz” was the old name of my birthplace. I have explored many different paths; I have worked as a tour leader, electrician, data scientist, high school physics teacher, salesman, editor, and web designer, among other things. Before starting my doctoral studies, I worked for the Ministry of Education in Iran for a short period. I focused on improving diversity in higher education by analyzing and providing data-oriented reports.
I deeply admire beautifully crafted writing, whether it’s a soul-stirring Persian poem or a captivating novel, either in English or thoughtfully translated. Camus, in the realm of non-fiction, holds a special place in my heart, as his insights resonate with me profoundly. Honestly, if I were to step beyond academia, I find myself drawn to the idea of becoming a writer or a filmmaker. Cinema has an irresistible charm that captivates me entirely. I’m particularly fond of dark comedy and drama, and I deeply appreciate the works of Kieślowski, Bergman, and Kiarostami. Cooking and trying new recipes are my other hobbies. I’m so into fusion cuisines. I also enjoy talking with drunk people, hosting friends, and listening to Chopin for long hours. Unlike most of my fellows, I’m neither a fan of climbing nor board games.
BBQ at Porkkalanniemi