Computational Law Research and Development

This open public research and development site explores the emerging field of computational law as social science, technical capability and business innovation.   This site is curated by MIT's Dazza Greenwood as part of Prof. Alex "Sandy" Pentland's work on Social Physics and Connection Science.

MIT Computational Law Report

Signup with this form for updates and notices or to inquire about the MIT Computational Law Report.  To submit content, fill out the form on this page.

Beta Release: https://computationallaw.pubpub.org

ABOUT The MIT Computational Law Report is an agile, new media, online publication that explores the ways in which law and legal processes can be reimagined and reengineered as computational systems. The Report features:

  • Traditional written content (such as peer-reviewed articles, essays and posts);
  • Rich media (videos, podcasts, interactive graphics, etc.); and
  • Reproducible software and data projects (such as computational law apps, automated processes, data science projects, games, etc.)

The Report fills a need for responsive, reputable, and neutral analysis of emerging computational law applications.


OUR GOALS Reimagine law as something dynamic, interoperable, and adaptive; Cultivate discussion at the intersection of law and computation; Create space for experimentation with new legal technologies; and, spotlight advances and thought leadership in the field.

OUR TEAM Dazza Greenwood Executive Producer -- Bryan Wilson Editor in Chief -- Sandy Pentland Advisor & Faculty Sponsor --  Camila Rioja Arantes Editor -- Jonathan Askin Editor -- Bob Craig Advisor -- Jameson Dempsey Editor -- Diana Vieira Fernandes Editor -- Michelle Gitlitz Advisor -- Sarah Glassmeyer Editor -- Shanna Hoffman Advisor -- David Horrigan Advisor -- Dan Katz Advisor -- Tony Lai Editor -- Robert Mahari Editor -- Cat Moon Advisor -- Christoph Pereira Advisor -- Elizabeth Renieris Advisor -- Tiemae Roquerre Advisor -- Gabe Teninbaum Editor -- Brian Ulicny Advisor

SIGN UP FOR UPDATES Join our email list to stay up to date with releases, events, and all of our other communications.

SUBMIT CONTENT We accept content submission in a wide variety of formats on a rolling submission schedule. Each year, we produce two releases of content and periodically issue challenge projects that are open to the public.

BECOME A SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION The budget for the MIT Computational Law Report is comprised of donations from businesses looking to create new value and improve efficiency, governments aiming to build trust with citizens, law firms exploring new technologies, tech companies looking to streamline legal processes, and philanthropies that share our mission. For more information about becoming a Supporting Organization, visit law.MIT.edu.



What is Computational Law?

Remarks of Dazza Greenwood to Tsinghua Computational Law Forum in Beijing on December 15, 2018  

Direct link to the video: https://youtu.be/AjXtIA4f9j4


Winter 2019 MIT-IAP Computational Law Course

For more info and to apply for instructor permission to participate in this workshop course, see: law.MIT.edu/learning

This course provides a conceptual overview and hands-on projects for understanding and solving legal use cases with data analytics, blockchain or other cryptosystems and a special module on rapid design solutions to key challenges for challenges posed by the Open Music Initiative. The course includes seminar-style lecture/discussion sessions and hands-on, experiential learning through team projects. The course covers:

* Digital Assets, including 1) Ownership rights, valuation and provenance of digital property; and 2) Storage and exchange of digital property with electronic contracts, automated transactions and autonomous agents

* Digital Identity, including 1) Technology and architecture for autonomy and control of self-sourced digital identity and personal data; and 2) Using individual identity for valid, verifiable login to apps or services and for providing a legal acknowledgment, assent or authorization.

* Digital Contracts, including 1) Integrating ordinary digital contracts and blockchain "smart contracts" in automated transactions by individuals or businesses; and 2) Standard open-web stack design patterns for executing multiple digital signatures and electronic notarization on digital legal contracts.

The course includes tutorials and tools for prototyping with blockchain based smart contracts and computational modeling.  The course also includes a special module on Open Music use cases and student projects.


MIT Open Music Legal Hackathon

On Sunday, October 28th, join us at the MIT Media Lab for a day-long  legal and technology hackathon to learn about and develop solutions for musicians and artists to control their digital works. In collaboration with the Open Music Initiative and Legal Hackers chapters around the world, this distributed event will happen in venues across the word (San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Kansas City, Dallas, DC, Vienna, San Paulo and other venues throughout the month of October, culminating with the legal hackathon at MIT. Learn more at LegalHackathon.org

Event Tracks

The event includes three tracks:

  • the learning track for lectures, panels and tutorials, 
  • the discussion track for small group focused conversations
  • the hacking track for team-based rapid project development

Through the month of October, we are collecting key challenges and ideas from experts and the broader communities to seed discussion and creative work by small teams at the event.  At the end of the event, all of the project demos and other presentations will be published to a digital media gallery, that will be freely available and accessible to all through OpenMedia.Space and Archive.org.  

The event is free and open to all.  To participate, signup at: http://LegalHackathon.org For more information, reach out to Dazza Greenwood (dazza@media.mit.edu).


Learn about the Music Modernization Act, enacted by Congress a few days ago,  and how it enables novel business models and legal frameworks that can transform the music and media industry through innovative technologies.   Specifically, this new statute established a publicly accessible database for song ownership information and creation of a single licensing entity called the "Mechanical Licensing Collective" to administer mechanical rights and royalties for musical works.

Learn more at:

Learn about open source smart/legal contract and blockchain-based data analytics tools you can use to hack the law for open music and media (including short "how-to" videos we have made with the project teams for each tool) at: http://legalhackathon.org/#resources including:

2018 Computational Law and Blockchain Festival

For Current Event Information See:

March 16-18, 2018

Cambridge Innovation Center & MIT Media Lab
More details on the Boston/Cambridge Node at: https://law.mit.edu/clb-fest
More details about Global distributed event at : www.legalhackers.org/clbfest2018

Learn.  Hack.  Discuss.


2017 MIT Legal Forum on AI and Blockchain

October 30 & 31, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab

The inaugural MIT Legal Forum on AI & Blockchain mission is to provide a forum for legal scholars, practitioners, technologists and business professionals to (A) discuss the current and likely future impact of AI and blockchain technologies on the law, and (B) develop an initial framework for the evaluation, prioritization and practical application of AI and blockchain technologies to the law.  For more information, see: MIT.edu/Law and Law.MIT.edu/MITLegalForum

2017 Open Access Journal Special Issue: Computation, Law and the Net

"Computation, Law and the Net—The Future of Law in the Computational Social Science Era"

Special Issue:

Join me and my fellow guest editors of this special issue in co-creating this historic volume.  Together with the rise of computational power and the data deluge, the growth of the Internet ecosystem is the driver of a deep change in our lives. We are witnessing a development that not only is reshaping economies, societies and institutions worldwide, but is also impacting the way in which science is done.

According to a growing and heterogeneous literature, the computational social science paradigm is drastically increasing our understanding of social dynamics and our ability to manage social complexity. Seen in this perspective, computational social science (CSS) represents a topic of great interest for the legal world. The law itself is at the same time a social phenomenon and an ordering factor of social life. CSS, on the one hand, promises to shed a new light on socio-legal dynamics, on the other, it is gradually providing innovative tools capable to support public institutions in a series of legally relevant activities spanning from policy design to rule making, from regulatory impact analysis to law enforcement. The use of online experiments, sentiment analysis techniques or agent-based social simulations in the legal world are just a few examples of an uncharted scientific and applicative landscape that is worth being explored.

This Special Issue aims at bringing together contributions discussing research issues at a theoretical level or presenting projects and applications of CSS that can be considered relevant for the legal field.  For more inforat http://www.mdpi.com/journal/futureinternet/special_issues/future_of_law

Dazza Greenwood, JD
Guest Edit


computational social science


rule making

policy design

big data

data-led science



social network analysis

social media analysis

social simulation

data visualization

quantitative legal prediction

online experiment



Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Future Internet is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

2017 MIT Computational Law Lecture Series Kickoff

"The Path to Predictive Coding: eDiscovery Search in the Big Data Era"

Tuesday Hack Night is Back: February 7th, 2017

Refactoring  Warehouse Receipts From Paper Documents to Electronic Transferable Records

Join Massachusetts Legal Hackers and MIT Computational Law researchers for a focused legal hack session with Mark Weber of the MIT Digital Currency Initiative as we use law governing Electronic Transferable Records to help refactor paper-based warehouse receipts into the form of blockchain-backed digital, networked objects!  Hacknight Wiki page of background resources and context:  https://github.com/ComputationalLaw/TransferableRecords-LegalHacking/wiki/Hack-Night-With-Mark-Weber  

The general idea is to refactor legally valid and enforceable warehouse receipts from paper documents to digital records.  we will explore:

1) Identifying system design requirements or constraints by starting with a walk through of the rules governing "Transferable Records" under UETA and ESIGN; and

2) Identifying contract design requirements or constraints by starting with a walkthrough of a standard, international "Trading Partner Agreement" appropriate for participation in relatively open commerce platforms, exchange networks and multi-player market systems (not a big buyer supply chain trading partner).  

The goal for this hack night is to develop a bullet list of potentially important requirements, constraints and other design goals for migration from paper to digital Warehouse Receipts, derived from a rapid but focused walk through of relevant legal rules.  The intention is to derive that bullet list from legal rules governing warehouse receipts in the form of electronic transferable records in the practical context of some likely types of rules governing parties using the digital warehouse receipt system derived from very standard trading partner and other commercial umbrella agreements.  While these two sources are far from comprehensive sets of all the legal rules impacting a system for digital warehouse receipts, they do provide a core "DNA-like" set of coherent, widely accepted, authoritative, definite, timely, relevant and achievable foundation to build upon.

RSVP at: https://www.meetup.com/Massachusetts-Legal-Hackers/events/237379403

2017 MIT/IAP Computational Law Course


exploring legal issues and technology options arising from data analytis, blockchains, individual identity systems and automated transactions

The January 2017 computational law course features a two-day module exploring use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for data analytics, we call DataVR.  For more information on this module, see: http://datavr.xyz  The 2017 course covers data analytics, blockchain smart contracts and other emerging legal technology topics, featuring expert lectures, self-study materials, groups discussion and hands-on, project-centered experiential learning. For more information on this Continuing Legal Education (CLE) offering, see: law.MIT.edu/Computational-Law-Course

Enrolled participants in the January 23+24 module on DataVR can use the syllabus as a live workshop schedule

Analytics and Blockchain for Community Centered Financial Institutions

A collaborative day of roundtable discussions co-hosted by the MIT Human Dynamics Lab and MIT Digital Currency Initiative, October 18, 2016


The Fully Automated Legal Entity Prototype

For more information: https://law.mit.edu/automated-credit-union

To request updates or get involved: contact us


How Can Blockchain Enable People to Own Their Individual Identity and Personal Data?

Keynote address by Sam Cassatt, of ConsenSys, at the MIT/law Blockchain Legal Intensive demo night at the Media Lab.

What is Computable Law?


    Blockchain Legal Intensive

    A month-long PrototypeJam at http://MIT.edu/law/blockchain


    Research Spotlight: Temporal Public Data Exploration of US Code

    Use the below interactive public data visualization tool to compare the rate of change in each title of the US Code. This visualization tool is being shared now as an example of how law can be presented as data in a way that enables any person to do basic data exploration. Note however, the underlying data is still in the process of being cleaned and not yet reliable as an accurate measure.  

    Ongoing Research: Uniform Law Adoption Analytics

    There are many facets of the law to which data science and computational legal science methods can be applies and many aspects of such science that can be applied to any given facet of the law.  One of the promising entry points being pursued by the Legal Science research team here at the MIT Media Lab is with an important body of statutes known as "Uniform Law".  The #LegalScience research team is now commencing a research study to explore the data and systems comprising uniform laws of the states and territories of the United States.


                     Preliminary Uniforn Law Analytics and Visualizations

                     Please Share Your Comments/Questions/Ideas? 

    Please see our ARCHIVE for prior eCitizen.MIT.edu version and content.