Hi! I'm a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where I am advised by Ashish Goel and Ramesh Johari and am part of the Stanford Crowdsourced Democracy Team and the Society and Algorithms Lab. I am a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society Graduate Fellow.

I received my M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford in 2017. Before that, I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering and a B.A. in Plan II (Liberal Arts) in 2015 from The University of Texas at Austin, where I focused on embedded systems and wireless communications. I have spent time at Uber, NASA, Microsoft, the Texas Senate, and IEEE's policy arm.

Contact me at nkgarg@REMOVETHISstanford.REMOVETHISedu or Twitter.

Research interests

I think about informational, operational, and algorithmic aspects of online marketplaces and participatory democracy. In both domains, I am most concerned with designing systems informed by both theory and data, and have primarily tackled learning and pricing challenges. I moonlight on applied machine learning problems, including using NLP tools to measure societal beliefs.

Trained predominantly as a computer scientist and engineer, I use techniques from probability, optimization, algorithms, statistics, and machine learning, and apply them to societal challenges. I also run experiments and contribute to deployed systems, including for participatory budgeting and at Uber and Upwork. I like to have first-hand practical experience in a domain before tackling research questions.

My work has been covered in the New York Times, Washington Post, Science Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine (in print), Stanford Engineering magazine, Stanford News, and other places.

Select papers (full list here):

In the past and hopefully future, I have built real systems and thought about various technology policy problems.

What's new

June 2019 New paper online, "Who is in Your Top Three? Optimizing Learning in Elections with Many Candidates."
June 2019 I'll be a teaching assistant for AddisCoder for part of the summer!
May 2019 The New York Times discussed our paper "Designing Informative Rating Systems for Online Platforms," with a quote from me.
May 2019 New paper online, "Driver Surge Pricing." I will present it at the Revenue Management and Pricing Conference at Stanford and the EC Market Design Workshop in June.
April 2019 I presented our paper "Designing Optimal Binary Rating Systems" at AISTATS'19 in Naha, Japan.
Feb 2019 Our paper "Analyzing Polarization in Social Media: Method and Application to Tweets on 21 Mass Shootings" was accepted to NAACL'19.
Jan 2019 Stanford Engineering News wrote an article about our paper "Designing Informative Rating Systems for Online Platforms."

Some recent blog posts

June 2019 Review of “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies” by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
Dec 2018 Top ten books I read in 2018
Dec 2018 Books I read in 2018, ranked (11–30)
Dec 2018 Books I read in 2018, ranked (31–52)
Dec 2018 Review of “A world without mind,” by Franklin Foer
Dec 2018 Review of “Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India”, by Shashi Tharoor
Dec 2018 Review of “Energy, a Human History,” by Richard Rhodes
Dec 2018 Review of “Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment,” by Robert Wright