The Center for Research in Computation and Society was founded to develop a new generation of ideas and technologies designed to address some of society’s most vexing problems. The Center brings computer scientists together with economists, psychologists, legal scholars, ethicists, neuroscientists, and other academic colleagues across the University and throughout the world, to address fundamental computational problems that cross disciplines, and to create new technologies informed by societal constraints to address those problems. Research initiatives that have been launched throughout industry and academia study the intersection of technology and society in two distinct manners: they investigate the effects of information technology on society or study ways to use existing technologies to solve societal problems. The approach of the Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society is unique in its forward-looking scope and integrative approach, supporting research on innovative computer science and technology informed by societal effects, not merely examining the effects of existing technology on society

Areas of specific research interest for the 2020-2021 academic year include conservation and public health. Research in this arena may involve, among myriad other possibilities, the use of AI for protecting endangered wildlife, fisheries, and forests; the use of technology to detect and prevent disease; and public health challenges amongst those experiencing homelessness. Other topics that continue to remain of interest to CRCS include privacy and security; social computing; economics and computation; and ethics and fairness in the application of technological innovation to societal problems.