David C. Parkes

David C. Parkes

  • George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science; Harvard College Professor
  • Co-director, Harvard Data Science Initiative
  • Co-chair, Harvard Business Analytics Program
  • Co-chair, FAS Data Science Masters


Parkes leads research at the interface between economics and computer science, with a focus on multi-agent systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is a vibrant field, encompassing questions about market design, dynamic pricing, preference elicitation, digital currency, reputation, and the increasing role that artificial intelligences will play in mediating transactions of all kinds.

Parkes founded the EconCS research group within the Paulson School, and is co-director of the Harvard University Data Science Initiative, and co-chair of the Harvard Business Analytics certificate program and the FAS Data Science Masters. Earlier, Parkes was Area Dean for Computer Science, 2013-2017. He served on the inaugural panel of the "Stanford 100 Year Study on Artificial Intelligence," co-organized the 2016 OSTP Workshop on "AI for Social Good," and served as chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce (2011-16). Since 2018, Parkes has served on the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) of the Computing Research Association.

Parkes is Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and recipient of the 2017 ACM/SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, the NSF Career Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Thouron Scholarship, and the Roslyn Abramson Award for Teaching.  Parkes has degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania, serves on several international scientific advisory boards, and is a technical advisor to a number of start-ups.

Contact Information

Office:229 Maxwell Dworkin
Office Phone:(617) 384-8130
Lab Name:EconCS
Assistant:Ann Marie King
Assistant Office:Maxwell Dworkin 114
Assistant Phone:617-496-1447
Research Mgr: Tara Araque

Primary Teaching Area

Positions & Employment

Harvard School/Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • July 2008-Present: Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science
  • June 2005-July 2008: John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Natural Sciences
  • July 2001-June 2005: Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne

  • September 2008-January 2009: Visiting Professor of Computer Science

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

  • Spring 2001: Lecturer of Operations and Information Management

IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

  • Summer 2000: Research Intern

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

  • Summer 1997: Research Intern


  • Association for the Advancement of Articial Intelligence (AAAI) Fellow, 2014
  • ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award, 2017.
  • Named one of Harvard's Favorite Professors: Class of 2010, Class of 2018.
  • Distinguished Israel Pollak Lecturer, Technion University, 2017-18.
  • SEAS Faculty Collaboration Award 2017.
  • William Mong Distinguished Lecturer, Engineering faculty, University of Hong Kong, 2016.
  • Member, Provost's Academic Leadership Forum, Harvard University, 2016-17.
  • Discussion leader on "AI and economics", in US State Department roundtable discussion on articial intelligence and foreign policy, Washington DC, October 2016.
  • Panelist in "Preparing for the Future of Articial Intelligence", the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge MA, November 2016.
  • Invited talk on "Life in 2030: How AI Will Transform Work, Life, and Play", in American Association for the Advancement of Science session on \Articial Intelligence, People, and Society", February 2017, organized by the Royal Society.
  • Participant, National Academy of Engineering's 2015 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
  • Penn Engineering Ph.D. Commencement Speaker, May 2015.
  • CSCW'15 Honorable Mention for "Strategic Voting Behavior in Doodle Polls", R. Meir, D.C. Parkes and J. Zou.
  • NIPS'14 Spotlight talk, "A Statistical Decision-Theoretic Framework for Social Choice", H. Azari Souani, D. C. Parkes and L. Xia.
  • AAMAS'12 Best Paper Award for 'Predicting Your Own Eort", D. F. Bacon, Y. Chen, I. Kash, D. C. Parkes, M. Rao and M. Sridharan
  • ACM EC'12 Best Paper Award for 'Payment Rules through Discriminant-Based Classiers" P. Duetting, F. Fischer, P. Jirapinyo, J. K. Lai, B. Lubin, and D. C. Parkes.
  • Harvard SEAS Capers McDonald Award for Mentoring, 2011-12.
  • Member, AAAI Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacic Grove CA, February 2009.
  • Nominated for Everett Mendelsohn Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Spring 2007 and 2009.
  • Harvard FAS Roslyn Abramson Award for Teaching, Spring 2008.
  • NSF Early Career Development Award, 2003-2008.
  • Participant, National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, Nov 2007.
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2005-2007.
  • AAMAS'06 Best Paper Award for \Instantiating the contingent bids model of truthful interdependent value auctions" (with Takayuki Ito).
  • NIPS'04 Spotlight talk, "Approximately Ecient Online Mechanism Design," D. C. Parkes, S. Singh and D. Yanovsky.
  • Advised seven Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize winning senior theses, 2002-present.
  • Advised one Fay Prize winning senior thesis, 2017-18
  • IBM Faculty Partnership Award, 2002 and 2003.
  • IBM Graduate Fellowship Award, 2000-2001.
  • Thouron Scholarship to study at the University of Pennsylvania, 1995-1996.
  • Lord Crewe Scholarship, Lincoln College, University of Oxford, 1992-1995.

Patents Awarded

[1] Christopher A. Thorpe and David C. Parkes. Method and system for securely transmitting order information over a network. Harvard University, January 2018. U.S. Patent 15,904,796.

[2] Tuomas Sandholm, David C. Parkes, Craig E. Boutilier, Subhash Suri, Jason J. Brown, and Luc H. Mercier. A System and mehod for contract execution against expressive contracts. May 2014. U.S. Patent 8,732,047.

[3] Tuomas Sandholm, David Parkes, Craig Boutilier, Subhash Suri, Jason Brown, and Luc Mercier. A System and Method for Payment Reconciliation against Expressive Contracts. July 2013. U.S. Patent 8,494,935.

[4] Tuomas Sandholm, David Parkes, Craig Boutilier, Subhash Suri, Jason Brown, and Luc Mercier. A System and Method for Contract Execution Against Expressive Contracts against Expressive Contracts. 2014. U.S. Patent 8,732,047.57

[5] Tuomas Sandholm, Richard McKenzie, David Levine, David C Parkes, Subhash Suri, Vincent Conitzer, Robert Shields, Benjamin Schmaus, and Christopher Cole. Dynamic Exchange Method and Apparatus. March 2009. U.S. Patent 7,499,880 European Patent 1577815 A1.

[6] Tuomas Sandholm, David L. Levine, David C. Parkes, Subhash Suri, Vincent Conitzer, Robert L. Shields, and Yuri Smirnov. Method and Apparatus for Conducting a Dynamic Exchange. August 2009. U.S. Patent 7,577,589 European Patent 1662435 A3.

[7] Tuomas Sandholm, David Levine, David C Parkes, Subhash Suri, Vincent Conitzer, Robert Shields, and Yuri Smirnov. Overconstraint Detection, Rule Relaxation and Demand Reduction in a Combinatorial Exchange. May 2012. U.S. Patent 8,190,490.

[8] Tuomas Sandholm, David Levine, David C Parkes, Subhash Suri, Vincent Conitzer, Robert Shields, and Yuri Smirnov. Items Ratio Based Price/Discount Adjustment in a Combinatorial Auction. June 2012. U.S. Patent 8,195,524.

[9] Tuomas Sandholm, David Levine, David C Parkes, Subhash Suri, Vincent Conitzer, Robert Shields, and Yuri Smirnov. Bid Modication Based on Logical Connections Between Trigger Groups in a Combinatorial Exchange. May 2012. U.S. Patent 8,190,489.

[10] Tuomas Sandholm, Craig Boutilier, George Nemhauser, David C Parkes, Robert Shields, and William Walsh. Automated Channel Abstraction for Advertising Auctions. November 2013. U.S. Patent 8,515,814.

[11] Elery Pfeer and David C. Parkes. Gift Exchange Platform. January 2015. U.S. Patent Application, PCT/US2015/010911.

[12] David C. Parkes, Michael O. Rabin, Stuart M. Shieber, and Christopher Thorpe. Practical Secrecy-Preserving, Veriably Correct and Trustworthy Auctions. May 2011. U.S. Patent 8,024,274.

[13] David C. Parkes, Marta Eso, and Jayant Kalagnanam. A Method for Computing Payment Discounts to Achieve Budget-Balance in Exchanges. May 2009. U.S. Patent 7,536,337.

[14] Sebastien Lahaie, David M Pennock, Sihem Amer-Yahia, and David Parkes. Method and Apparatus for Administering a Bidding Language for Online Advertising. 2013. U.S. Patent 8,527,353.

[15] Frederick Herz, Jonathan M. Smith, and David C. Parkes. Location Enhanced Information Delivery System. May 2003. U.S. Patent 6,571,279.

[16] Frederick Herz, Paul Labys, David C Parkes, Sampath Kannan, and Jason Eisner. Secure Data Interchange. 2009. U.S. Patent 7,630,986.