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Workshop on Co-Development of Computer Science and Law

November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020


Online Event


Joan Feigenbaum, Yale University

Joshua Kroll, Naval Postgraduate School

David Pennock, DIMACS

Sophisticated computation, embedded in a variety of sociotechnical systems, has become an essential enabler of everyday life. As such systems have become more powerful and more present, the interdisciplinary research area of computer science and law has begun to take shape. This workshop will explore establishing rigorous foundations for this emerging interdisciplinary area.  It will focus on the need for co-development of computational techniques and legal principles, using the strengths of each approach to compensate for known weaknesses in both and building shared understanding, methodology, and vocabulary to improve communication and catalyze research across the two disciplines.

The workshop will consider how to create technical definitions and solutions in concert with the creation of legal language so that the two fields can work together to solve (and proactively prevent) problems. Ideally, computer scientists and lawyers should collaborate to create legislative language and technical definitions that are consistent and that capture broadly agreed-upon principles. For example, technical considerations and definitions embedded in legislation should reflect what is technically feasible and not mandate impossible requirements, while implementations of such requirements should produce sufficient evidence that their behavior sits within stated requirements and thus complies with the law.

The workshop will be a next step in the development of a research community in computer science and law that brings together computer scientists, statisticians, law scholars, and social scientists studying sociotechnical assemblages and their governance.

View videos of the workshop presentations on Youtube.

Check out the posters session:


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Session - Chair: David Pennock
12:00 PM - 12:15 PM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

CPU, Esq: Should Law Be More Like Software? A Fireside Chat with Solon Barocas (Microsoft Research)

James Grimmelmann, Cornell University

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM


Session - Chair: Lisa Zhang
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Protecting Cryptography Against Compelled Self-Incrimination

Sarah Scheffler, Boston University

Session - Chair: Joan Feigenbaum
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Beyond Talismanic Governance: The Utility of Structured Disclosures about Software Systems

Joshua Kroll, Naval Postgraduate School

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Career Opportunities Panel. Moderated by Joan Feigenbaum (Yale University)

Solon Barocas, Microsoft Research

Stacey Dogan, Boston University

Ron Hedges, Dentons

Paul Ohm, Georgetown University

Reggie Sheehan, National Science Foundation

Janice Tsai, Mozilla

Lisa Zhang, Nokia Bell Labs

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM


Session - Chair: Danny Weitzner
4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Proving Legal Theorems

Aloni Cohen, Boston University


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Session - Chair: Joshua Kroll
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

What Cybersecurity Policy Would Look Like if We Could Actually Measure Cyber Risk

Daniel Weitzner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

12:45 PM - 1:30 PM

Intellectual Debt: What's Wrong When Machine Learning Gets It Right

Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard University

Session - Chair: Mayank Varia
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Verifying Algorithmic Claims: Legal Significance?

Shafi Goldwasser, University of California, Berkeley

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Break and Social Gathering

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Data Co-Ops: Challenges, and How to Get There

Katrina Ligett, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Kobbi Nissim, Georgetown University

Session - Chair: David Pennock
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Poster Session

5:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Social Event


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Session - Chair: David Pennock
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Assessing the Reliability of Clothing-Based Forensic Identification

Hany Farid, University of California, Berkeley

12:45 PM - 1:30 PM

Automated Contact Tracing: Individualism, Society, Law and Technology in an Aerosol Droplet

Ran Canetti, Boston University

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM


Session - Chair: Aloni Cohen
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Surveillance, Privacy and Social Control

Marilyn George, Brown University

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM

Explainability, Novelty, and Intent

Patrick Shafto, Rutgers University

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM


Session - Chair: David Pennock
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Conclusion, Discussion, and Follow Up Plans


This will be an online workshop.  Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please register through the button at the bottom of the page.


Presentations are by invitation. Additionally, we invite poster presentations and lightning talks. Posters or lightning talks about completed work (published or to be published), work in progress, and open questions are all welcome.


Submission of posters is open to students and postdocs only. Poster presenters will each have the opportunity to introduce their poster in a two-minute talk at the start of the poster session. An online version of a traditional poster session will follow these two-minute talks. Anyone may submit a lightning talk. Lightning talks may be up to two minutes long.


The submission deadline was November 2, 2020, so submissions are now closed.

This workshop is presented with support from the National Science Foundation under grant number IIS-1933535 to Yale University. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Registration for this event is closed.