Rishab Nithyanand




I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa where I lead the SPARTA Lab and conduct privacy and social computing research. Before joining the faculty at UIowa, I worked at the Data & Society Research Institute and obtained my Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to be the recipient of a Google Faculty Research Award, a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellowship, an OTF Emerging Technology Senior Fellowship, and the Franklin Antonio Scholarship from Qualcomm’s Office of the Chief Scientist.

research interests

My research interests are in the areas of privacy and social computing. The focus of my work is to bring transparency to the Internet while improving our understanding of the impact of the Internet on our sociopolitical realities.

Generally speaking, I’m interested in asking the questions: “Is X working the way it was intended to work?”, “What are the consequences of X working in this way?”, and “What would be a feasible way to mitigate the harms from X?”, where “X” is usually a tech-related public policy, platform algorithm, network protocol, or new networked technology. To find satisfactory answers to these questions, I often engage with collaborators from law and the social sciences.

office hours

I am available for in-person office hours from 10-11am on Mondays in 201L MacLean Hall. Please email ahead if you plan to drop in.