I am a third year PhD student at the University of Southern California (USC), working on Theoretical and Applied Machine Learning. My advisors are two amazing physicists, Aram Galstyan and Greg Ver Steeg. I am fortunate to be working with my labmates, some of the best mathematicians I have encoutered first-hand.
Affliation:MINDS Research Group, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
Previous Affliation:Machine Perception @ Google AI
Location:Los Angeles, California
Interests:Machine Learning Algorithms; Graphs; Computer Vision
Codes in:Primarily Python, C++ and javascript.
Enjoys:Soccer, cooking, hiking, and indo-European learning languages.
Contact:[x] or sami@[x].org, where [x]=haija
Profiles:Google Scholar, LinkedIn



  • Currently a PhD student at USC
  • Masters of Science and Engineering, Computer Science, University of Michigan. Supervisor: Honglak Lee. Did research on Medical Imaging. Graduate Student Instructor for undergraduate course: Introduction to Machine Learning
  • SCPD (i.e. Non-degree option), Computer Science, Stanford. Focused on Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Mining Massive Datasets.
  • Bachelors of Applied Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto. Graduated with honors. Senior project was an Enteprise Search Engine, demoed at IEEE-SDC 2010

Selected Papers

  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Bryan Perozzi, Amol Kapoor, Hrayr Harutyunyan, Nazanin Alipourfard, Kristina Lerman, Greg Ver Steeg, Aram Galstyan MixHop: Higher-Order Graph Convolutional Architectures via Sparsified Neighborhood Mixing, International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 2019 · paper draft
  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Amol Kapoor, Bryan Perozzi and Joonseok Lee, N-GCN: Multi-scale Graph Convolution for Semi-supervised Node Classification, Conference on Uncertainty and Artificial Intelligence (UAI), 2019 · paper draft
  • Saurabh Singh, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Nick Johnston, Johannes BalleĢ, Abhinav Shrivastava and George Toderici, Learning Compressible Features, Coding Theory for Large-Scale Machine Learning (CodML) Workshop, 2019 · paper
  • Mehrnoosh Mirtaheri, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Tozammel Hossain, Fred Morstatter and Aram Galstyan, Tensor-based Method for Temporal Geopolitical Event Forecasting, ICML Workshop: Learning and Reasoning with Graph-Structured Data, 2019
  • Mehrnoosh Mirtaheri, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Fred Morstatter, Greg Ver Steeg and Aram Galstyan, Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Manipulations on Social Media, WWW-Workshop CyberSafety, 2019 · paper
  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Bryan Perozzi, Rami Al-Rfou and Alex Alemi, Watch Your Step: Learning Node Embeddings via Graph Attention, Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2018 · paper · video · poster · our code · 3rd party code
  • Joonseok Lee, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Balakrishnan Varadarajan, Paul Natsev Collaborative Deep Metric Learning for Video Understanding, Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), 2018 · paper
  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Proportionate gradient updates with PercentDelta, ArXiv 2017 · paper
  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Bryan Perozzi, Rami Al-Rfou, Learning Edge Representations via Low-Rank Asymmetric Projections ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM) 2017 (20% acceptance rate) oral · paper · website
  • Sami Abu-El-Haija, Nisarg Kothari, Joonseok Lee, Paul Natsev, George Toderici, Balakrishnan Varadarajan, Sudheendra Vijayanarasimhan, YouTube-8M: A Large-Scale Video Classification Benchmark, ArXiv 2016 · paper · website
  • Vignesh Ramanathan, Jonathan Huang, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Alexander Gorban, Kevin Murphy, Li Fei-Fei, Detecting events and key actors in multi-person videos, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2016 - oral · paper · website
  • Bertrand Schneider, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Jim Reesman, Roy Pea, Toward Collaboration Sensing: Applying Network Analysis Techniques to Collaborative Eye-tracking Data, Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) 2013 - best paper award · paper

Selected Patents

  • (with Google Research) 14 authors including Sami Abu-El-Haija, Selecting and Presenting Representative Frames for Video Previews · link
  • (with Ooyala Inc.) Zhichen Xu, Sami Abu-El-Haija, Lei Huang, Nimrod Hoofien, Automatically Recommending Content · link
  • (with Altera Inc.) Jason Govig and Sami Abu-El-Haija, Reporting Status of Timing Exceptions · link