Director’s Letter and CRCS 2016 – 2017 Annual Report

Greetings CRCS fans!

I am delighted to present you with our first ever annual report. When I became director of CRCS in 2015, I looked forward to connecting CRCS to the greater Harvard community. I’m happy to report that we’ve made great strides in that direction and that more remains to be done.

We continue our close, cooperative relationship with the Berkman Klein center, whose fellows frequently join us for CRCS events and with whom we often share visitors and speakers. A particular highlight this year was a visit from Justice Mariano-Florentino “Tino” Cuellar. Cuellar is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court and, more recently, a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. He participated in a lively lunchtime discussion with our CRCS fellows. In other joint undertakings, we partnered with the Harvard Business School to host the second “Engineering and Entrepreneurship” event as part of Harvard’s participation in Hubweek, Boston’s annual innovation festival. Our day-long symposium featured a talk by Chicago CTO Brenna Berman, a case study presented by HBS Professor Rajiv Lal, and a series of technical talks by SEAS colleagues around the theme of the Internet of Things.

We continue to partner regularly with the Institute for Applied Computational Science, co-sponsoring the J-term ComputeFest, a Syposium entitled “Data, Dollars, and Algorithms: The Computational Economy,” and the first ever Bostonarea Women in Data Science event. We’re also excited to report that we began joint postdoctoral activities with a select group of postdocs from the Harvard Medical school. Finally, we wrapped up the year with a timely event on Fake News, which drew participants from SEAS and IQSS as well as colleagues from local colleges and universities.

In addition to directing a great deal of energy externally, we improved our internal programming and developed a series of professional development events for our postdocs — mentoring sessions, practice interviews, panel discussions, and of course, a series of fun community-building events. You’ll all be relieved to know that our team successfully “escaped the room.”

I am honored to be concluding my second year as director of CRCS, and I remain awed by the energy, enthusiasm, and passion of our community. I hope that all of you reading this will find an excuse to participate in our activities in the coming year.

Sincerely,

Margo Seltzer
Faculty Director, Center for Research on Computation and Society

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