Prof. Milind Tambe

Milind Tambe


Professor Milind Tambe

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Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Research in Computation and Society (CRCS) at Harvard University.


Director, AI for Social Good at Google Research India.

Maxwell Dworkin 125,  SEAS
Harvard University,
33 Oxford Street,  Cambridge, MA 02138

Prof. Tambe's CV

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Research and Bio

Milind Tambe is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of Center for Research in Computation and Society at Harvard University; concurrently, he is also Director "AI for Social Good" at Google Research India. Prof. Tambe's work  focuses on advancing AI and multiagent systems for public health, conservation & public safety, with a track record of building pioneering AI systems for social impact. 

 He is recipient of the IJCAI (International Joint Conference on AI) John McCarthy Award, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Autonomous Agents Research Award, AAAI (Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence)  Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Lecture Award, and he is a fellow of AAAI and ACM. He is also a recipient of the Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, INFORMS Wagner prize for excellence in Operations Research practice, Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, IBM Faculty Award, Okawa foundation faculty research award and several others. Prof. Tambe has contributed several foundational papers in Artificial Intelligence in areas of multiagent systems and computational game theory, for which he has received influential/best paper awards at a number of premier Artificial Intelligence conferences.

Prof. Tambe's research has often providing the very first uses of AI and multiagent systems algorithms in large-scale societally impactful applications. Some major examples include the following:

A key example is the first large-scale applications of AI models, specifically machine learning and game theory,  for global anti-poaching efforts, as part of the PAWS project for wildlife conservation. Predicting snare locations using machine learning enables rangers to remove them more effectively. Prof. Tambe and team's decade-long collaboration on PAWS with NGOs has resulted in removing hundreds or thousands of snares set to trap endangered animals, in Uganda and Cambodia. Indeed this work led to a 5-fold increase in snare removals in Cambodia. The SMART partnership – a collaboration of major conservation agencies  -- has begun deploying PAWS in 800 wildlife parks internationally, bringing AI to the fight to save the lives of endangered animals all around the globe.PAWS was listed as "Top Tech" of 2018 by IEEE spectrum.

Another example is Prof. Tambe and his team's first large scale applications of social network algorithms for public health. Conducted In collaboration with social work researchers, their pioneering large-scale field study focused on spreading HIV prevention information among youth experiencing homelessness (YEH). Empirical results with 750 YEH in in Los Angeles demonstrated that their AI-guided interventions were far more effective than traditional methods in spreading HIV prevention information. Other examples include work  in collaboration with NGO ARMMAN (see below work at Google Research India) to improve maternal health outcomes. 

As a third example, Prof. Tambe and team provided the first ever applications of computational game theory for operational security, starting with deployment of game theoretic algorithms for security (e.g., counter terrorism) at LAX airport in 2007. This is one of the largest and busiest airports in the United States that serves 80 Million passengers. This research was followed by pioneering deployments of security games used by major security agencies for the allocation of limited security resources, including the US Coast Guard, the US Federal Air Marshals and others. This research has led him and his students to receive commendations and certificates of appreciation from the US Coast Guard, the Federal Air Marshals Service and the city of Los Angeles.  See alsoTeamcore group home page.

Prof. Tambe's work at Google Research India, as director for AI for Social Good is seen in this blog post that initiated the projects. The results after a year are reported in this blog post. These projects are successfully transitioning to actual deployment.

Prof Tambe's early research provided foundational models of multiagent teamwork. His JAIR 1997 "Towards flexible teamwork" won the AAMAS influential paper award (an award given out 10 years after publication of a paper). Tambe and collaborators also the foundational paper Distributed Constraint Optimization (DCOP) that started that subfield by providing the first comprehensive algorithm with quality guarantees (“ADOPT:Asynchronous distributed constraint optimization with quality gurantees” Artificial Intelligence Journal. 2005). Finally, their earlier paper introducing a novel Distributed POMDP model for teamwork won the AAMAS’02 Best paper. 

Prof. Tambe completed his PhD from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to that, he completed his undergraduate education at BITS, Pilani, India, which awarded him their Distinguished Alumnus Award.


Teaching and Service

STeamcore 2021 teamo far, 31 PhD students have completed their theses under his supervision; he has also mentored 11 Postdoctoral researchers. Currently Prof. Tambe supervises a team of 15 PhD students and postdocs.
Prof. Tambe's service includes National Academy of Sciences panels, blue ribbon panel to review security at LAX airport and DARPA ISAT Panels. He has also served as general co-chair for AAMAS (2004), and as a member of the board of directors of IFAAMAS, the IJCAI executive committee, the board of trustees of RoboCup Robot Soccer World Cup Federation and the steering board of the Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security (GameSec); he also served as associate editor, advisory board member and editorial board member of journals including the Journal of AI Research (JAIR), IEEE Intelligent Systems and the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (JAAMAS), and as co-editor for JAIR special track on AI and Society.
In 2013, based on their research, Prof. Tambe co-founded Avata Intelligence, which was acquired by Procore Technologies.

Selected News Stories





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Featured Videos

Economics & Computation (EC) 2020 Keynote address [2020, 50 min]

BBC video
Using technology to take on poachers [2019, 3 min]

JP Morgan Distinguished Lecture [2020, 57 minutes]


International Joint Conference on AI John McCarthy Award lecture
[2018, 45 min]


AI for Social Good Interview [33 minutes]

AAMAS Panel: Future of Agents & Multiagent Systems [2020, 5 min]

Current Projects