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James Mickens

Professor of Computer Science, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

James Mickens is an associate professor of computer science at Harvard University. His research focuses on the performance, security, and robustness of large-scale distributed web services.

For example, his Riverbed project explores how to use trusted hardware and new OS interfaces to allow users to constrain how datacenters manipulate sensitive data.

Mickens received a B.S. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan. Before coming to Harvard, he spent six years as a researcher at Microsoft, and a semester as a visiting professor at MIT.

He is also the creator of Mickens-do, a martial art so deadly that he refuses to teach it to anyone (including himself).


Aug 6, 2021

Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center Receives $2 Million From Knight Foundation To Combat Disinformation

James Mickens shares insights into the Center's new Institute for Rebooting Social Media.



Create an IPCC-like body to harness benefits and combat harms of digital tech

BKC Affiliate Joseph Bak-Coleman, BKC Director James Mickens, and BKC Faculty Associate Zeynep Tufekci write to advocate for an intergovernmental panel to synthesize the evidence…

May 17, 2023
CNN Business

Facebook's success was built on algorithms. Can they also fix it?

James Mickens and Hilary Ross discuss the drawbacks and potential solutions of social media algorithms.

Oct 10, 2021

Assembly Student Fellowship: A Seminar with James Mickens

James Mickens discusses combatting disinformation in a seminar for the Assembly Student Fellows of 2021.

Apr 8, 2021
MIT News

Straight talk about race in academia

James Mickens participates in MIT-hosted panel about ongoing challenges for Black scholars

Dec 8, 2020
Harvard Law Today

‘We need to be more imaginative about cybersecurity than we are right now’

BKC co-directors James Mickens and Jonathan Zittrain discussed today’s cybersecurity challenges at a recent event.

Oct 7, 2020


Software Systems: Security, Performance, and Robustness - Fall 2022

For more information visit the Harvard Course Catalog. 

Operating Systems - Spring 2021

This course focuses on the design and implementation of modern operating systems. The course discusses threads, processes, virtual memory, schedulers, and the other fundamental…

Systems Security - Fall 2020

Professor James Mickens This course explores practical attacks on modern computer systems, explaining how…


May 17, 2022 @ 12:00 PM

The Tower and the Park: Structural Misalignments of Social Media

Joanne Cheung will discuss “Real Estate Politik: Democracy and the Financialization of Social Networks"...

Apr 21, 2022 @ 5:00 PM

Private Consciences and Public Companies: Whether and How to Work within Big Tech

How should students think about working for Big Tech companies? What are the ethical considerations that students should ponder?

Oct 5, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Cybersecurity: How Far Up the Creek Are We?

VIDEO & PODCAST: A Conversation between James Mickens and Jonathan Zittrain

Join BKC Board Members James Mickens and Jonathan Zittrain for a conversation that explores cybersecurity beyond its traditional boundaries of protecting data or code from bad…