Rhodes>Mathematics>People>Staff>Patrice Okouma

Patrice Okouma




BSc/Honours (Metz Univ., France & UCT, South Africa), MSc (UCT, South Africa), PhD (UCT, South Africa)


Room 19 Maths. Building (Drostdy Lodge)

(046) 603 7447


  • (MAM 2, year 2, semester 2): Mathematical Programming with Python
  • (MAM 2, year 2): Ordinary Differential Equations
  • (MAP 314, year 3): Partial Differential Equations
  • (Applied Mathematics Honours, year 4): Introduction to Mathematical Optimization for Machine learning


Most of my recent works has centered around developing and applying advanced statistical techniques to analyze and model data. This included implementing Bayesian techniques to characterize and optimize various models of physical processes. As a cosmologist, I work on dark energy from a phenomenological perspective. Some of my recent contributions are in forecasting the capabilities of future surveys based on the forthcoming Square Kilometre Area (SKA).

My growing interest in investigations of small scales astrophysical processes and their functional overlaps with space science processes has me being Co-Investigator in an ongoing multi-disciplinary collaboration involving space science, radio-astronomy and cosmology; with an embedded technology development. 

I am currently expanding an interdisciplinary research project at the interface of (elementary) number theory and machine learning through a novel deterministic scheme for the characterization of the organization of prime numbers.

I am a member of Rhodes Artificial Intelligence Research Group (RAIRG) based in the Department of mathematics.

Students (Graduated)

  • 2012: As Teaching Assistant, I supported the supervision of five (05) AIMS students’ essays towards their AIMS postgraduate diploma
  • 2018: "Analytical Tools for the Study of Cepheid and other Variable Stars", N.G. Beyene, AIMS MSc in Mathematical Sciences
  • 2020: "Supernovae de Type Ia et Expansion acceleree de l'Univers Observable", B. Adimangoyi, ENS Gabon MSc in Physical Sciences [in co-supervision]
  • 2021: "Exploitation d'une Methode d'Apprentissage Automatique pour l'excision des Nuages sur les Images Satellitaires", V.K. Ziramenwa, UNH BSc in Computer Science.

Students (Current)

  • "Towards An Artificial Intelligence-based Agent for Characterizing the Organization of Prime Numbers" (2021-current), N. Oyetunji, RU MSc
  • "Animal Detection and Warning Systems in South African Highway" (2020-current), I. Nandutu, RU PhD [in co-supervision]
  • Data-driven Aspects of the Curvature-Dark Energy Degeneracy in Cosmology" (2022-current), B. Sibanda, AIMS MSc in Mathematical Sciences

Honours projects

My research specialty is in applied mathematics and I am happy to consider a range of projects in the field. In particular, projects involving modeling of systems in physics, economics, or biology would be of interest to me.

Computatonal projects involving Bayesian techniques, optimization are also of interest to me.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you think you would to do an Honours project along any of these lines, and we can try to work out a thread compatible with your interests. This is also valid for MSc candidates.

Research interests

  • Cosmology & Applied Mathematics
  • Bayesian Techniques
  • Machine Learning

Existing Data-driven Projects [Honours & MSc/PhD level. Please, feel free to contact me]


  • At the interface of Machine Learning (ML) & (elementary) Number Theory (02)
  • ML-based Interdisciplinary Investigation(s) with Bio-diversity Research Institute (01)
  • Academia-Industry Interface in Data Science (01)


  • A Primes Characterization (01)
  • A Bias Characterization within Observational Cosmology (01)
  • Aspects of Dark Energy in Observational Cosmology (01)

Selected publications


    (A full list of my publications can be found here)

  • Nanduttu, M. Atemkeng, P. M. Okouma. Integrating AI Ethics in Wildlife Conservation AI Systems in South Africa, AI & Soc (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-021-01285-y
  • Strubbe, B. I. Okere, J. Zhang, J. O. Chibueze, M. Ikape, P. M. Okouma, A. Ibik et al. The Pan African School for Emerging Astronomers, Nature Astronomy vol.5, pages 217–220, (2021)
  • M. Atemkeng; P.M Okouma; E. Maina, R. Ianjamasimanana, S. Zambou, Filling the uv-gaps of the current VLBI network in Africa, arXiv:2003.08642, (2020)
  • J-C. Uwamahoro, J-C. Bosco, P.M. Okouma, Storm Time Total Electron Content Modeling Over African Low-Latitude and Mid-Latitude Regions, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 123:09, pp. 7889-7905, (2018)
  • V. Stanishev, A. Goobar, R. Amanullah, B. Bassett, Y. T. Fantaye, P. Garnavich, R. Hlozek, J. Nordin, P.M. Okouma, L. Ostman, et al., Type Ia Supernova Cosmology in the Near-Infrared and optical observations, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 615, A45, (2018)
  • S. Yahya, P. Bull, M. G. Santos, M. Silva, R. Maartens, P.M. Okouma, B. Bassett, Cosmological performance of SKA H I galaxy surveys. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 450, Issue 3, p.2251-2260, (2015)
  • P.M. Okouma, Y. Fantaye, B.A. Bassett, How flat is Our Universe Really? Physics Letters B. 719, pp. 1-4, (2013)
  • C. Zunckel, P.M. Okouma, S. Muya Kasanda, K. Moodley, B.A. Bassett, Fundamental Uncertainty in the BAO Scale from Isocurvature Modes, Physics Letters B. 696, pp. 433-437, (2011)
  • B. A. Bassett, M. Brownstone, A. Cardoso, M. Cortes, F. Yabebal, R. Hlozek, J. Kotze and P.M. Okouma, Is the Dynamics of Dark Energy Detectable? J. Cosmol. Astropart. Phys. JCAP 0807 007, (2008)


  • AS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (PI): International Centre for Theoretical Physics/International Astronomical Union (ICTP/IAU) grant for 1st Workshop on Astronomy & Space Science for Central Africa & OAD/IAU workshop in Libreville, Gabon (Euros 7355), 2013.

  •  AS CO-INVESTIGATOR (CO-PI): South African NRF THUTHUKA post-PhD track grant UID no. 84240, (R260k in 2015, R222k in 2014 and R453400 in 2013), with institutional commitment. A research effort between collaborators based at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and at the South African Square Kilometre Area (SA SKA) project. Among others responsibilities for the project, I led an embedded technology development effort.

  • Best Oral PhD Presentation at the 2010 Square Kilometre Area SA Bursary Conference in Stellenbosch (South Africa).

Others (refereeing, community engagements, etc.)

  • I have served as a reviewer for NRF grant proposals and for a number of journals 
  • I have been speaker and instructor/lecturer at national and international conferences and workshops
  • I was a volunteer for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa 

Last Modified: Thu, 10 Mar 2022 16:59:07 SAST