Boaz Barak

Boaz Barak

  • Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science


Boaz Barak is the Gordon McKay professor of Computer Science at Harvard University's John A. Paulson school of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Until January 2016 he will also continue in his position as a principal researcher in Microsoft Research New England where he has worked since 2010. 

His research interests include all areas of theoretical computer science, particularly cryptography and computational complexity. Previously, he was an associate professor (with tenure) at Princeton University's computer science department, and before that a member in the School of Math at the Institute for Advanced Study. Barak has won the Packard and Sloan fellowships, and was also selected for Foreign Policy magazine's list of 100 leading global thinkers for 2014. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the ACM, the Theory of Computing Journal, and the Electronic Colloquium of Computational Complexity, and is a member of the Committee for the Advancement of Theoretical Computer Science and of the board of trustees of the Computational Complexity Foundation. He wrote with Sanjeev Arora the textbook: Computational Complexity: A Modern Approach.

Contact Information

Office:329 Maxwell Dworkin
Office Phone:(617) 496-6257
Assistant:Kevin Doyle
Assistant Office:Pierce Hall 318
Assistant Phone:617-496-6257

Primary Teaching Area

Positions & Employment

Harvard University. Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Started September 2015.

Microsoft Research. Principal researcher in New England research lab from June 2010 until January 2016. (Promoted from senior researcher in March 2015.)

Princeton University. Assistant professor of Computer Science July 2005 - February 2010, Associate professor (with tenure) February 2010 - June 2011.

Institute for Advanced Study. Member in the school of Mathematics, September 2003 - July 2005.


  • Selected for Foreign Policy magazine's list of 100 leading global thinkers for 2014.
  • Invited speaker, session on "Mathematical Aspects of Computer Science", International Congress of Mathematicians, August 2014.
  • Co-winner of FOCS 2010 best paper award for the paper "Subexponential Algorithms for Unique Games and Related Problems" with Sanjeev Arora and David Steurer.
  • Alfred Rheinstein '11 junior faculty award, Princeton, April 2008.
  • Packard foundation fellowship, November 2007.
  • Sloan foundations fellowship, September 2007.
  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Dissertation award for best doctoral dissertation in computer science and engineering, 2004.
  • Co-winner of FOCS 2002 conference best paper award. Award was given for the paper: "Constant-Round Coin-Tossing With a Man in the Middle or Realizing the Shared Random String Model"
  • Co-winner of FOCS 2002 Machtey best student paper award for the same paper.
  • John F. Kennedy Ph.D distinction prize, Weizmann Institute of Science, June 2003.
  • Clore foundation scholarship for graduate students in the sciences. September 2002 - August 2003.
  • VATAT1 scholarship for graduate students in the high-tech area. October 2001 - August 2003.
  • Co-winner of FOCS 2001 conference Machtey award for best student paper. Award was given for the paper "How To Go Beyond the Black-Box Simulation Barrier"
  • Checkpoint scholarship for graduate students in computer science. January 2001 - September 2002.
  • Knesset (Israeli Parliament) Education Committee's outstanding undergraduate students list, academic year 1996-7.
  • Tel-Aviv University Rector's list (top 0.1%), academic year 1996-7.
  • Member of the special program for outstanding students in Tel-Aviv University, years 1997-9.
  • Tel-Aviv University, Faculty of Exact Sciences Dean's list in the years 1996-7,1997-8,1998-9.

Patents Awarded

U.S. Patent 7,003,677, "Method for operating proactively secured applications on an insecure system" with Amir Herzberg, Dalit Naor and Eldad Shai of IBM Haifa Research Lab. Filed November 1999, granted February 2006.