Dr. Abdelkader Baggag

Abdelkader Baggag
Senior Scientist
Social Computing
+971 4454 7250

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“Being part of the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) provides me with a unique opportunity to contribute to building a new world-class data science institute; and to engage in high-impact data science projects of interest to QCRI and its partners, which could have positive transformative effects for Qatar and the region.”

Research Focus at QCRI

At QCRI, Dr. Abdelkader focuses on the development of machine learning and linear algebra techniques in a multi-layer framework. He is working on the following projects of relevance to Qatar.

(1)    Multiplex Networks for Multi-Modal Transportation – FIFA 2022 in Doha: Multilayer networks have been the subject of intense research in the recent years in different applications. However, in urban mobility, the multi‐layer nature of transportation systems has been generally ignored, even though most large cities are spanned by more than one transportation system. These different modes of transport have usually been studied separately. It is however important to understand the interplay between different transport modes. In this project, we consider the multimodal transportation system, represented as a multiplex network, and we address the problem of urban mobility in the transportation system, in addition to its robustness and resilience under random and targeted failures. Multiplex networks are formed by a set of nodes connected by links having different relationships forming the different layers of the multiplex. We study, in particular, how random and targeted failures to the transportation multiplex network affect the way people travel in the city. More specifically, we are interested in assessing the portion of the city covered by a random walker under various scenarios. The overall project is to develop a computational framework to better understand and predict mobility patterns in the city of Doha once its ambitious metro system is deployed in 2019. The computational framework will help the city to efficiently manage the flow of people and intelligently handle capacity through different transportation modes, in particular during mega events such as Soccer Wold cup FIFA 2022.

(2)    City Resilience (the metro of Doha): We are interested in the study and quantification of the city resilience, i.e., the capacity of a urban area to confront uncertainty and/or risk, and its ability to recover from it. In this particular project, we are mainly interested in the study of the robustness of the metro network against random and/or targeted failure of its segments and/or nodes to identify its reduced exposure and fragility.  The metro network is prone to fail anywhere, anytime, as opposed to targeted attacks on critical parts of the infrastructure which is the second goal of the study. We use well-established methods and techniques from complexity science, such as percolation theory, to get valuable information on the vulnerability of the rail network, and to uncover the critical nodes and segments, under different scenarios. This will help in assessing the infrastructural fragility of the metro network.

(3)    Traffic Prediction: Real-time traffic prediction from high-fidelity spatio-temporal traffic sensor datasets in an important problem for intelligent transportation systems and sustainability. However it is challenging due to the complex topological dependencies and high-dynamism associated with changing road conditions, especially for a fast growing city like Doha. In this project, we are interested in addressing these challenges holistically, via a tensor formulation and a temporal regularized matrix factorization for high-dimensional time series prediction.

Previous Experience

Among the positions Dr. Abdelkader held prior to joining QCRI is Associate Professor at Laval University (tenured), where he worked on the development of a unified framework for the parallel DG-XFEM discretization for direct numerical simulation of a class of problems with sharp interfaces. He also worked at McGill University where he established a curriculum in HPC at the consortium on high-performance computing in Quebec, CLUMEQ, funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; and he lead the scientific activities of CLUMEQ by taking on the mission of facilitating the use of parallel computing for the large CLUMEQ constituency.

Dr. Abdelkader has extensive experience in, and in-depth knowledge of mathematical and numerical methods applied to engineering and data science. He has gained this expertise while working at leading HPC research centers, namely, the Computing Research Institute at Purdue University; the Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (ICASE) at NASA Langley Research Center; the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center; and the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute.

With an academic background in computer science, applied mathematics, and engineering; and exposure to industrial and US national laboratory applications, Dr. Abdelkader works at the intersection of numerical linear algebra, data science and engineering applications, and parallel computing, i.e., modeling the physical processes, designing and analyzing iterative algorithms, and implementing them on advanced massively parallel computers using the message passing paradigm.

As a senior data scientist, Dr. Abdelkader conducts original research applied to data science problems of relevance to Qatar. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Minnesota, with a concentration in high-performance computing applied to data science and engineering.

Professional Experience

•    Associate Professor, Laval University, Canada, June 2010 – Aug. 2014

•    Associate Professor (Adjunct), Clarkson University, USA, Aug. 2011 – July. 2012

•    Associate Professor, Louisiana Tech University, USA, Sept. 2008 – Aug. 2010

•    Assistant Professor, McGill University, Canada, April 2003 – Aug. 2008

•    Senior High-Performance Computing Analyst, CLUMEQ Supercomputer Center, McGill, April 2003 – Aug. 2008

•    Research Fellow, NASA Langley Research Center, June 1995 – August 2001

Professional Associations and Awards

•    Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Quebec – Scholarships program in Science and Engineering: only 8 professors were recruited under this program. Dr. Abdelkader was among them.

•    Scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education of Algeria to pursue graduate studies in Canada, 1990 – This scholarship is awarded to the top 20 from the École Nationale Polytechnique. Dr. Abdelkader was ranked first in the exam –nationwide.

•    Ranked first nationwide in the “Examen du Baccalauréat” section mathematics, 1985 – Received by the President of Algeria, the late Chadli Bendjedid, and awarded a scholarship


•    Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of Minnesota, USA

•    M.Sc.A. in Applied Mathematics, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Canada

•    Ingenieur d’Etat, Ecole National Polytechnique of Algiers, Algeria

Selected Research

•    Baggag, A., Bensmail, H., Srivastava, J.: “Advanced Computation of Sparse Precision Matrices for Big Data.” In: Proceeding of PAKDD2017, The Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, May 2017.

•    Baggag, A., Abbar, S., Zanouda, T., Srivastava, J, Borge-Holthoefer, J.: “Coverage and Robustness in Multi-Modal Transportation Networks.” Journal of Computational Social Networks, under review (March 2017).

•    Baggag, A., Abbar, S., Zanouda, T., Borge-Holthoefer, J., Srivastava, J.: “A multiplex approach to urban mobility.” In: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Complex Networks and Their Applications, H. Cherifi et Al. (Editors), Complex Networks and Their Applications V, Book Series Studies in Computational Intelligence (SCI), vol. 693, pp. 551–563 (2016)

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