Frequently Asked Questions & Contact Information

My term has Area Chair for Computer Science has ended, and I am on sabbatical during the 2019-20 academic year.  I will be gradually resuming some of the professional activities that I reduced while being Area Chair.  Please see below for more information, answers to common questions, and how to contact me if your question is not answered below.

Read This First: More Information on Frequent Requests

E-mail Addresses

I have re-consolidated my work email to the single address salil_vadhan@harvard.edu. This address is private (only read by me).  For calendar requests and reference letters, please also cc Faculty Coordinator Allison Choat at achoat@seas.havard.edu. For any mail related to the Privacy Tools Project (including OpenDP), please cc the Privacy Tools Coordinator Lindsay Froess at privacytools-info@g.harvard.edu.  If you are a student in a course I am currently teaching, it is best to ask any questions via the course website/forum (e.g. Piazza) so that the entire staff can see it and respond. 

Meeting Requests

I have regular open office hours that are posted on my website.  For other meeting requests (or if you plan to drop by office hours for a discussion that will take more than 10min), please email both me (salil_vadhan@harvard.edu) and my Faculty Coordinator Allison Choat (achoat@seas.havard.edu).  If it is a meeting related to the Privacy Tools Project (including OpenDP), please also cc the Privacy Tools Coordinator Lindsay Froess at privacytools-info@g.harvard.edu.

Reference Letters

On all requests for reference letters, please email both me (salil_vadhan@harvard.edu) and Faculty Coordinator Allison Choat (achoat@seas.havard.edu).  Please send requests well in advance (at least three weeks for most requests), and with your request please include information about what you are applying for, the first deadline, and any materials that will help me in deciding whether I can write a letter (e.g. CV, transcript, a summary of the work you did with me, etc.).  For writing the letters, it is also helpful for me to see drafts of your application essays.  Please send me and Allison reminders as the deadline approaches, repeatedly if necessary! 

Courses and Teaching

If you have a question about a course that I am currently teaching, I encourage you to post it to the course's website/forum (e.g. Piazza site) so that the entire course staff sees it.  This is likely to get you a quicker response than emailing me directly.

Ph.D./ Doctoral and Postdoctoral Advising

Every year I review PhD applications jointly with other Computer Science faculty, especially those in the Theory of Computation and in Information & Society.  If you are interested in working with me, you should apply to our PhD program and include me among the faculty you list in your application; there is no need to email me in advance (and I will probably not reply if you do, due to email volume).  Individual discussion about research fit and the possibility of becoming my advisee is most useful after the admissions process is complete. 

If you are interested in working with me as a postdoc, please apply for one of our postdoc fellowships through Harvard's joint Computer Science postdoc application, which is opened up each fall.

Undergraduate Research Advising and Summer Internships

I am happy to co-supervise research by Harvard undergraduates, for example doing so jointly with a PhD student, postdoc, or colleague from the Theory of Computation group or the Privacy Tools Project. When you come to discuss possibilities with me, it's best if you are prepared to talk about your general areas of interest, which can come for example from graduate (200-level) courses or looking at recent publications from me or my research group. Information on some sources of research funding is available from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

I can co-supervise summer interns who are either Harvard students (see above) or are applying to work on the Privacy Tools Project.  I am not able to take on other summer interns who do not have an already established research connection with me.

Office & Faculty Coordinator

Office:
Maxwell Dworkin 337
33 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 496-0439
Fax: (617) 496-6404

Faculty Coordinator:
Allison Choat
Maxwell Dworkin 353
33 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 496-6257
achoat@seas.harvard.edu