MSRNE 10th Anniversary Symposium

MSRNE 10th Anniversary Symposium


Since its founding in 2008, the New England lab builds on Microsoft’s commitment to collaborate with the broader research community and pursues new, interdisciplinary areas of research that bring together core computer scientists and social scientists to understand, model, and enable computing and online experiences of the future.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Microsoft Research New England, we are hosting a one-day symposium comprised of themed panels focused on mathematics and theory, economics, big data and machine learning, fairness, and social platforms. Join us in Cambridge as we welcome researchers, faculty, and students to discuss the future and advancing the state of the art.

Organizing committee


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Time (PDT) Session
8:00 AM–9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM–9:15 AM Introduction, Different Disciplines, Shared Vision
Christian Borgs, Deputy Managing Director Microsoft Research New England
9:15 AM–10:15 AM Panel: The Usefulness of Long-Term Thinking (aka Theory)

Moderator: Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of Institute for Advanced Study

10:15 AM–10:45 AM Coffee Break
10:45 AM–11:45 AM Panel: Frontiers of Machine Learning

Moderator: Kevin Leyton-Brown, University of British Columbia

11:45 AM–1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 PM–2:15 PM Panel: Platform Society

Moderator: Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media

2:15 PM–3:15 PM Panel: Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics

Moderator: Hanna Wallach, Microsoft Research New York City

3:15 PM–3:45 PM Coffee Break
3:45 PM–4:45 PM Panel: The Future

Moderator: Jennifer Chayes, Microsoft Research New England

4:45 PM–5:00 PM Closing Remarks
Jennifer Chayes, Technical Fellow and Managing Director of New England, New York City, and Montreal
5:00 PM–7:00 PM Reception


Portrait of Anima AnandkumarAnima Anandkumar
California Institute of Technology


Anima Anandkumar is a Bren Professor at the Computing + Mathematical Sciences Department at Caltech. Anima Anandkumar’s research interests span theory and practice of large-scale machine learning. In particular, she has been spearheading the development and analysis of multi-dimensional (tensor) algorithms for machine learning. She is the recipient of several awards such as the Bren endowed chair professorship at Caltech, Alfred. P. Sloan Fellowship, Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, Google research award, ARO and AFOSR Young Investigator Awards, NSF Career Award, and several best paper awards. She received her B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras in 2004 and her PhD from Cornell University in 2009. She was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT from 2009 to 2010, an assistant professor at U.C. Irvine between 2010 and 2016, a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research New England in 2012 and 2014, and a Principal Scientist at Amazon Web Services between 2016-2018.

Portrait of Nancy BaymNancy Baym
Microsoft Research New England


Nancy Baym studies how people, audiences and workers such as musicians understand and use communication technologies in their everyday relationships. She is the author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Polity Press, 2010/2014), now in its second edition, Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Methods (co-edited with Annette Markham, Sage 2009), as well as dozens of articles and book chapters.

She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994, writing the first Ph.D. dissertation on online community (later published as Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom and Online Community; Sage, 2000). She was a co-founder and is Past-President of the Association of Internet Researchers and serves on the editorial boards of several new media and Communication journals. Before coming to Microsoft, she was a Professor of Communication Studies. She is a Research Associate in Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT.

Links to publications and talks are here.

Portrait of Guy BergerGuy Berger


Guy Berger is LinkedIn’s Economist, understanding what is going on in the labor market, and helping ensure that that “what” is harnessed to benefit the billions of people who rely on the labor market to make better lives for themselves.

In his role on the Economic Graph team, Guy looks at LinkedIn’s treasure trove of data to tease out trends and patterns that often can’t be found or measured elsewhere. Whether it’s measuring skills gaps or noticing which economic characteristics make a city unique, there are many interesting stories to tell.

Portrait of Christian BorgsChristian Borgs
Microsoft Research New England


Christian Borgs is deputy managing director and co-founder of Microsoft Research New England Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He studied physics at the University of Munich, the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, the Institut des Hautes Etudes in Bures-sur-Yvettes, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics in Munich. He received his Ph.D. in mathematical physics from the University of Munich, held a postdoctoral fellowship at the ETH Zurich, and received his Habilitation in mathematical physics from the Free University in Berlin. After his Habilitation he became the C4 Chair for Statistical Mechanics at the University of Leipzig, and in 1997 he joined Microsoft Research to co-found the Theory Group. He was a manager of the Theory group until 2008, when he co-founded Microsoft Research New England.

Christian Borgs is well known for his work on the mathematical theory of first-order phase transitions and finite-size effects, for which he won the 1993 Karl-Scheel Prize of the German Physical Society. Since joining Microsoft, Christian Borgs has become one of the world leaders in the study in phase transitions in combinatorial optimization, and more generally, the use of methods from statistical physics and probability theory in problems of interest to computer science and technology. He is one of the top researchers in the modeling and analysis of self-organized networks (such as the Internet, the World Wide Web and social networks), as well as the analysis of processes and algorithms on networks.

His most recent research includes game theoretic models of online social networks, the development of pricing algorithms to incentivize energy conservation in cloud computing, the analysis of local graph algorithms, and the development of methods to reconstruct gene regulatory networks in order to find potential drug targets for cancer treatment. On the more mathematical side, he has been one of the founders of the area of convergent graphs sequences, a field which characterizes the properties of sequences of growing networks and studies the properties of their limiting structures.

Christian Borgs has authored about 120 research papers and is named as an inventor on a little over 30 patents. Among the honors he has received are a scholarship from the German National Merit Foundation, the 1993 Karl-Scheel Prize of the German Physical Society, and the Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Research Council. He has been invited by the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) to give a lecture series on “Statistical Physics Expansion Methods in Combinatorics and Computer Sciences.” He has been a long-term visitor at PrincetonHarvard, and UCLA, and has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Among the boards and councils on which he has served or is still serving are the Council of the University of Leipzig, the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Statistical Physics, the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics, the Journal of Statistical Mechanics, the Annales de l’Institut Henri Poincaré D, the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM), and the governing board of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and the Association of the Advancement of Science.

See a full list of publications here.

Portrait of Debbie ChachraDebbie Chachra
Olin College


Debbie Chachra is working to make engineering education more effective, responsive and inclusive. Besides her teaching at Olin College and her own research on the engineering student experience, Debbie speak and write widely, and also work closely with faculty around the world to help them redesign learning experiences, primarily as part of Olin’s Collaboratory. See full biography at

Portrait of Jennifer Tour ChayesJennifer Tour Chayes
Microsoft Research New England


Jennifer Tour Chayes is Technical Fellow and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012, and Microsoft Research Montreal since 2017. These three laboratories are widely renowned interdisciplinary centers, bringing together computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, social scientists, and biologists, and helping to lay the foundations of data science. Prior to founding these labs, Chayes was Research Area Manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science, and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond. Chayes joined Microsoft Research in 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of large networks, mechanism design, and graph algorithms. She is the co-author of about 130 scientific papers and the co-inventor of about 30 patents.

Chayes has many ties to the academic community. She was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. Chayes serves on numerous institute boards, advisory committees and editorial boards, including the Boards of Trustees of the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) and the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science (DIMACS), the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing (of which she is Chair) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Advisory Committees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus and the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation. In addition, Chayes is on the Advisory Board of the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM), the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine (CWSEM) of the National Academies, and the Board of Directors of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT). Chayes is the past Chair of the Turing Award Selection Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery, past Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society.

Chayes received her B.A. in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton. She did her postdoctoral work in the mathematics and physics departments at Harvard and Cornell. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Chayes has recently been the recipient of many leadership awards including the Leadership Award of Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, the Leading Women Award of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the Catalyst Award of the Science Club for Girls, the Women to Watch Award of the Boston Business Journal, and the Women of Vision Leadership Award of the Anita Borg Institute. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Fields Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Mathematical Society, a National Associate of the National Academies, and an Elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chayes was the recipient of the 2015 John von Neumann Lecture Award, the highest honor of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 2016, Chayes was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Chayes is well known for her work on phase transitions, in particular for laying the foundation for the study of phase transitions in problems in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science; this study is now giving rise to some of the fastest known algorithms for fundamental problems in combinatorial optimization. Chayes is one of the world’s experts in the emerging field of network science, particularly in its mathematical and algorithmic foundations. She is well known for her work in the modeling and analysis of random, dynamically growing graphs, which are used to model the Internet, the World Wide Web, social networks, and networks in computational biology. Chayes is one of the inventors of the field of graph limits (graphons), which are now being used extensively in the machine learning of massive networks, both theoretically and in practice. Among Chayes’ contributions to Microsoft technologies are the development of methods to analyze the structure and behavior of various networks, the design of auction algorithms, and the design and analysis of various business models for the online world.

Chayes lives with her husband, Christian Borgs, who also happens to be her principal scientific collaborator. In her spare time, she enjoys overworking.

For more details, download the detailed CV here.

Portrait of Victor ChernozhukovVictor Chernozhukov
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Victor Chernozhukov works in econometrics and mathematical statistics, with much of recent work focusing on the quantification of uncertainty in very high dimensional models. He is a fellow of The Econometric Society and a recipient of The Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and The Arnold Zellner Award.

More information can be found on his homepage.

Portrait of Robbert DijkgraafRobbert Dijkgraaf
Institute for Advanced Study


Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leon Levy Professor since July 2012, is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. His research focuses on the interface between mathematics and particle physics. In addition to finding surprising and deep connections between matrix models, topological string theory, and supersymmetric quantum field theory, Dijkgraaf has developed precise formulas for the counting of bound states that explain the entropy of certain black holes. For his contributions to science, Dijkgraaf was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, in 2003. He was named a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2012 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Past President (2008–12) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and past Co-Chair (2009–17) of the InterAcademy Council, Dijkgraaf is a distinguished public policy adviser and passionate advocate for science and the arts. Many of his activities––which have included frequent appearances on television, a monthly newspaper column in NRC Handelsblad, several books for general audiences, and the launch of the science education website––are at the interface between science and society. In 2017, Princeton University Press published The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge in which Dijkgraaf and IAS founding Director Abraham Flexner articulate how essential basic research and original thinking are to innovation and societal progress, a belief that has informed the mission of the Institute for nearly ninety years.

Portrait of George DysonGeorge Dyson


George Dyson (born 26 March 1953) is an American non-fiction author and historian of technology whose publications broadly cover the evolution of technology in relation to the physical environment and the direction of society.[1] He has written on a wide range of topics, including the history of computing, the development of algorithms and intelligence, communication systems, space exploration, and the design of water craft. Lecturing widely at academic institutions, corporations, and tech conferences, Dyson gives a historical context to the evolution of technology in modern society and provides thought-provoking ideas on the directions in which technology and the Internet might develop.

Portrait of Nicolo FusiNicolo Fusi
Microsoft Research New England


Nicolo Fusi’s research interests lie at the intersection of computational biology and machine learning. In particular, Nicolo’s focus is on the development of new machine learning techniques and their application to problems in molecular biology and personalized medicine.

Portrait of Tarleton GillespieTarleton Gillespie
Microsoft Research New England


Tarleton Gillespie is Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England, the newest permanent member of the Social Media Collective, (joining danah boyd, Nancy Baym, Kate Crawford, and Mary Gray) Microsoft Research’s team of sociologists, anthropologists, and communication & media scholars studying the impact of information technology on social and political life. Tarleton also retains an adjunct Associate Professor position with Cornell University, where he has been on the faculty for over a decade.

Tarleton’s current work investigates how social media platforms and other algorithmic information systems shape public discourse. His forthcoming book (Yale University Press, exp. Spring 2018) examines how the content guidelines imposed by social media platforms set the terms for what counts as ‘appropriate’ user contributions, and ask how this private governance of cultural values has broader implications for freedom of expression and the character of public discourse. A second thread of his research examines how the algorithmic selection of information and culture has equally important consequences for public discourse. His essay “The Relevance of Algorithms” has been a key component in the recent emergence of a sociology of algorithms; his contributions focus on how algorithms embedded in social media and search engines are organizing information based on implicit and unexamined assumptions about popularity, relevance, and value – that have implications for how public discourse functions. This work is designed to develop a vocabulary for a society in which algorithmic information systems and social media platforms are more and more deeply interwoven into the lives of users and into the public institutions on which they depend.

Tarleton received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego (2002); he also has a M.A. in Communication from UCSD (1997) and a B.A. with honors in English from Amherst College (1994). In 2011-12 he was awarded funding from the European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) to be a Residential Research Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France.

Portrait of Timnit GebruTimnit Gebru
Stanford University


Timnit Gebru is a PhD candidate in electrical engineering at Stanford University and is a member of the computer vision lab led by Fei-Fei Li. Her research interests lie in the intersection of computer vision and computational sociology: making use of millions of publicly available images to draw sociological insights. Using cars detected from 50 million Google Street View images, her team was able to study and quantify demographic variables such as segregation rates, political affiliations, race, income, and crime rates. Timnit intends to continue her efforts to use artificial intelligence to study society.

Portrait of Deborah HellmanDeborah Hellman
University of Virginia School of Law


Deborah Hellman joined the Law School in 2012 after serving on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Law since 1994.

There are two main strands to Hellman’s work. The first focus on equal protection law and its philosophical justification. She is the author of When is Discrimination Wrong? (Harvard University Press, 2008) and co-editor of The Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law (Oxford University Press, 2013) and several articles related to equal protection. The second strand focuses on the relationship between money and legal rights. This includes articles on campaign finance law, bribery and corruption, each of which explore and challenge the normative foundations of current doctrine. Her article “A Theory of Bribery” won the 2019 Fred Berger Memorial Prize (for philosophy of law) from the American Philosophical Association.

In addition, she writes about the obligations of professional roles, especially in the context of clinical medical research. She teaches constitutional law, legal theory and contracts, as well as advanced classes and seminars on questions related to these fields (Discrimination Theory, Profiling and Contract Theory, for example).

Hellman was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2005-06) and the Eugene P. Beard Faculty Fellow in Ethics at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University (2004-05). She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers in 1999 and was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2007-08 and at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2011.

Portrait of Matthew JacksonMatthew O. Jackson
Stanford University


Matthew O. Jackson is the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute and a senior fellow of CIFAR. He was at Northwestern University and Caltech before joining Stanford, and received his BA from Princeton University in 1984 and PhD from Stanford in 1988. Jackson’s research interests include game theory, microeconomic theory, and the study of social and economic networks, on which he has published many articles and the book `Social and Economic Networks’. He also teaches an online course on networks and co-teaches two others on game theory. Jackson is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Game Theory Society Fellow, and an Economic Theory Fellow, and his other honors include the von Neumann Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Social Choice and Welfare Prize, the B.E.Press Arrow Prize for Senior Economists, and teaching awards. He has served as co-editor of Games and Economic Behavior, the Review of Economic Design, and Econometrica.

Portrait of Adam KalaiAdam Kalai
Microsoft Research New England


Adam Kalai received his BA (1996) from Harvard, and MA (1998) and PhD (2001) under the supervision of Avrim Blum from CMU. After an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at M.I.T. with Santosh Vempala, he served as an Assistant Professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago and then at Georgia Tech. He is now a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England. His honors include an NSF CAREER award and an Alfred P. Sloan fellowship. His research focuses on machine learning, human computation, and algorithms.

Portrait of Yael Tauman KalaiYael Tauman Kalai
Microsoft Research New England


Yael Tauman Kalai joined Microsoft Research New England in 2008 after being an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech and a postdoc at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and Microsoft Research in Redmond. She graduated from MIT, working in cryptography under the superb supervision of Shafi Goldwasser. She was also extremely fortunate to have the guidance of Adi Shamir for her master’s degree.

Yael’s main research interests are Cryptography, the Theory of Computation, and Security & Privacy.

See Yael’s publications.

Portrait of Mira LaneMira Lane
Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group


Mira Lane is a video artist and technologist working at Microsoft. Mira is the head of Design & Ethics in the Artificial Intelligence for Business organization. She specializes on crafting cohesive user experiences, incubation of new products & concepts, product strategy, and nurturing innovation into the product experience. Mira believes that corporations need the power and insights of creative individuals in order to weave empathy, soul and humanness into form and matter.

Portrait of Butler LampsonButler Lampson
Microsoft Research New England


Butler Lampson is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Corporation and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT. He was on the faculty at Berkeley and then at the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC and at Digital’s Systems Research Center. He has worked on computer architecture, local area networks, raster printers, page description languages, operating systems, remote procedure call, programming languages and their semantics, programming in the large, fault-tolerant computing, transaction processing, computer security, WHSIWYG editors, and tablet computers. He was one of the designers of the SDS 940 time-sharing system, the Alto personal distributed computing system, the Xerox 9700 laser printer, two-phase commit protocols, the Autonet LAN, the SDSI/SPKI system for network security, the Microsoft Tablet PC software, the Microsoft Palladium high-assurance stack, and several programming languages.

He received an AB from Harvard University, a PhD in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley, and honorary ScD’s from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich and the University of Bologna. He holds a number of patents on networks, security, raster printing, and transaction processing. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1984 for his work on the Alto, the IEEE Computer Pioneer award in 1996, the National Computer Systems Security Award in 1998, the IEEE von Neumann Medal in 2001, the Turing Award in 1992, and the National Academy of Engineering’s Draper Prize in 2004.

At Microsoft he has worked on anti-piracy, security, fault-tolerance, and user interfaces. He was one of the designers of Palladium, and spent two years as an architect in the Tablet PC group. Currently he is in Microsoft Research, working on security, privacy, and fault-tolerance, and kibitzing in systems, networking, and other areas.

Portrait of Kevin Leyton-BrownKevin Leyton-Brown
University of British Columbia


Kevin Leyton-Brown is a professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and an associate member of the Vancouver School of Economics. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. from Stanford University (2003; 2001) and a B.Sc. from McMaster University (1998). He studies the intersection of computer science and microeconomics, addressing computational problems in economic contexts and incentive issues in multiagent systems. He also applies machine learning to various problems in artificial intelligence, notably the automated design and analysis of algorithms for solving hard computational problems.

He has co-written two books, “Multiagent Systems” and “Essentials of Game Theory,” and over 100 peer-refereed technical articles; his work has received over 11,000 citations and an h-index of 41. He is an Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI; elected 2018). He was a member of a team that won the 2018 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Advanced Analytics, Operations Research and Management Science, described as “the leading O.R. and analytics award in the industry.” This award recognizes a “completed, practical application that had significant, verifiable and quantifiable impact on the performance of [a] client organization,” in his case the Federal Communications Commission. Leyton-Brown also received UBC’s 2015 Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research, a 2014 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship—previously given to a computer scientist only 10 times since its establishment in 1965—and a 2013 Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Prize from the Canadian Association of Computer Science. He and his coauthors have received paper awards from JAIR, ACM-EC, AAMAS and LION, and numerous medals for the portfolio-based SAT solver SATzilla at international SAT solver competitions (2003–15).

He has co-taught two Coursera courses on “Game Theory” to over 700,000 students (and counting!), and has received awards for his teaching at UBC—notably, a 2013/14 Killam Teaching Prize. He is chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce, which runs the annual Economics & Computation conference. He has served as an associate editor for the Artificial Intelligence Journal (AIJ), the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR), ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation (ACM-TEAC), and AI Access; and was program chair for the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (ACM-EC) in 2012.

He has held a wide range of visiting professor/researcher positions, at: Technion Israel Institute of Technology (April 2018); Microsoft Research New York City (Jan–Feb 2018); Microsoft Research New England (Mar–Jun 2016); Harvard’s EconCS group (Mar–Jun 2016); the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley (Aug–Sep, Nov 2016; Sep-Dec 2015); the Institute for Advanced Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (Mar–Jun 2011); Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda (Sep 2010–Jan 2011).

He currently advises Auctionomics, AI21, and He is a co-founder of and Meta-Algorithmic Technologies. He was scientific advisor to UBC spinoff Zite until it was acquired by CNN in 2011. His past consulting has included work for Zynga, Trading Dynamics, Ariba, and Cariocas.

External links:

Portrait of Lester MackeyLester Mackey
Microsoft Research New England


Lester Mackey is a researcher at Microsoft Research New England Lab and an adjunct professor of Statistics at Stanford University. He spent three wonderful years as an assistant professor of Statistics and, by courtesy, Computer Science at Stanford and one as a Simons Math+X postdoctoral fellow, working with Emmanuel Candes at Stanford. Lester received my Ph.D. in Computer Science (2012) and my M.A. in Statistics (2011) from UC Berkeley and his B.S.E. in Computer Science (2007) from Princeton University. Lester’s Ph.D. advisor was Mike Jordan, and his undergraduate research advisors were Maria Klawe and David Walker.

Lester Mackey’s current research interests include statistical machine learning, algorithms and data structures, high-dimensional statistics, and concentration inequalities. Lately, he has been developing and analyzing scalable learning algorithms for healthcare, recommender systems, approximate posterior inference, high-energy physics, and the social good.

Quixotic though it may sound, Lester hopes to use computer science and statistics to change the world for the better.

For more details about my interests and work please see Lester’s external website.

Portrait of Bridgit MendlerBridgit Mendler
MIT Media Lab


Bridgit Mendler is a platinum songwriter and recording artist, entertaining audiences through diverse media and live events around the globe. She was a leading television actress of multiple network series including Disney Channel’s award-winning Good Luck Charlie and NBC’s Undateable. Simultaneously she has pursued a degree in anthropology from University of Southern California and engages in multiple philanthropic pursuits including serving as Save the Children’s Artist Ambassador. Through leading her own independent music career, she has developed a passion for the business of entertainment and the anthropology of the digital space where she has a substantial global following.

Portrait of Steven PinkerSteven Pinker
Harvard University


Steven Pinker is an experimental cognitive psychologist and a popular writer on language, mind, and human nature. A native of Montreal, he earned his Bachelor’s degree at McGill University in 1976, his PhD from Harvard in 1979, and taught at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT before returning to Harvard in 2003. Pinker’s research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”

Prof. Pinker is currently doing research on a diverse array of topics in psychology, including the role of common knowledge (where two or more people know that the others know what they know) in language and other social phenomena; historical and recent trends in violence and their explanation; the psycholinguistics of good writing; the nature of the critical period for acquiring language; the neurobiology and genetics of language; and the nature of regular and irregular phenomena in grammar.

Portrait of Madhu SudanMadhu Sudan
Harvard University


Madhu Sudan got his Bachelors degree from IIT Delhi in 1987 and his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1992. Between 1992 and 2015, Madhu Sudan spent time at IBM Research (Research Staff Member 1992-1997), at MIT (Associate Professor 1997-2000, Professor 2000-2011, Fujitsu Chair Professor 2003-2011, CSAIL Associate Director 2007-2009, Adjunct Professor 2011-2015), and at Microsoft Research (Principal Researcher, 2009-2015).He has been at Harvard since October 2015.

Madhu Sudan’s research interests revolve around theoretical studies of communication and computation. Specifically his research focusses on concepts of reliability and mechanisms that are, or can be, used by computers to interact reliably with each other. His research draws on tools from computational complexity, which studies efficiency of computation, and many areas of mathematics including algebra and probability theory. He is best known for his works on probabilistic checking of proofs, and on the design of list-decoding algorithms for error-correcting codes.

In 2002, Madhu Sudan was awarded the Nevanlinna Prize, for outstanding contributions to the mathematics of computer science, at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Beijing. He is also the recipient of the 2014 Infosys Foundation Prize in Mathematical Sciences. Madhu Sudan is a fellow of the ACM, the IEEE, the AMS and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a Radcliffe Fellow from 2003-2004.

Videos: Research Overview

Portrait of Eva TardosEva Tardos
Cornell University


Eva Tardos focuses on Algorithmic game theory, an emerging new area of designing systems and algorithms for selfish users. Her research focuses on algorithms and games on graphs or networks. Eva is mostly interested in designing algorithms and games that provide provably close-to-optimal results.

Portrait of Hanna WallachHanna Wallach
Microsoft Research New York City


Hanna Wallach is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research New York City Lab and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a member of UMass’s Computational Social Science Institute. Hanna develops machine learning methods for analyzing the structure, content, and dynamics of social processes. Her work is inherently interdisciplinary: she collaborates with political scientists, sociologists, and journalists to understand how organizations work by analyzing publicly available interaction data, such as email networks, document collections, press releases, meeting transcripts, and news articles. To complement this agenda, she also studies issues of fairness, accountability, and transparency as they relate to machine learning. Hanna’s research has had broad impact in machine learning, natural language processing, and computational social science. In 2010, her work on infinite belief networks won the best paper award at the Artificial Intelligence and Statistics conference; in 2014, she was named one of Glamour magazine’s “35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry”; in 2015, she was elected to the International Machine Learning Society’s Board of Trustees; and in 2016, she was named co-winner of the 2016 Borg Early Career Award. She is the recipient of several National Science Foundation grants, an Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity grant, and a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Hanna is committed to increasing diversity and has worked for over a decade to address the underrepresentation of women in computing. She co-founded two projects—the first of their kind—to increase women’s involvement in free and open source software development: Debian Women and the GNOME Women’s Summer Outreach Program. She also co-founded the annual Women in Machine Learning Workshop, which is now in its eleventh year. Hanna holds a BA in computer science from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in cognitive science and machine learning from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in machine learning from the University of Cambridge.

Portrait of Ethan ZuckermanEthan Zuckerman
MIT Center for Civic Media


Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (W. W. Norton, 2013).

With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded the international blogging community Global Voices. It showcases news and opinions from citizen media in more than 150 nations and 30 languages, publishing editions in 20 languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces.

In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer organization that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously, he helped found, one of the web’s first “personal publishing” sites. Zuckerman blogs at He received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College, and as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.