Balaji Prabhakar

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Stanford University

Electrical Engineering Department
350 Serra Mall, Room 269
Stanford, CA 94305-9510


  Societal Networks
  Data Centers



Societal Networks

Societal Networks are networks that are vital for a society's functioning. They include transportation networks, waste management systems, energy networks and health-care systems. Our work in this area aims to use the power and universal reach of computer networks (Internet, wireless) for addressing pressing problems that arise in Societal Networks. At a deeper level, we are applying the principles, architectures and algorithms developed in the Internet context to fundamentally redesign Societal Networks, making them "smarter", more scalable and efficient.

Currently, transportation networks are a major focus. Our goal is to reduce congestion-related costs (fuel, pollution, time) and, ultimately, congestion itself. We have conducted a pilot project, called INSTANT project, in collaboration with Infosys Technologies, Bangalore, where we have incentivized commuters to travel at off-peak hours. We plan to implement this approach of incentivizing "good" commuter behavior in combination with charging "congestors" in other locations, notably as a part of the "Reduce Peak Hour Trips" campaign at Stanford University. Other projects include incentivizing energy savings, improving recycling and reducing health-care costs.

Stanford Center for Societal Networks Website

INSTANT Project Website


  1. C. Pluntke, B. Prabhakar, "INSINC: A Platform for Managing Peak Demand in Public Transit," JOURNEYS, Land Transport Authority Academy of Singapore, September 2013.
  2. D. Merugu, B. Prabhakar, N. Rama."An Incentive Mechanism for Decongesting the Roads: A Pilot Program in Bangalore", NetEcon, ACM Workshop on the Economics of Networked Systems, July 2009.
  3. N. Gomes, D. Merugu, G. O'Brien, C. Mandyam, T. Yue, B. Atikoglu, A. Albert, N. Fukumoto, H. Liu, B. Prabhakar, D. Wischik, "Steptacular: an Incentive Mechanism for Promoting Wellness," NetHealth, Comsnets Workshop on Networked Healthcare Technology, January 2012.


  1. "It pays to be early bird at Infy", The Times of India, Bangalore, November 22, 2008.
  2. "Infosys makes efforts to check traffic congestion", Deccan Herald, Bangalore, November 23, 2008.
  3. "Infosys' cash prizes to beat Bangalore traffic", Daily News & Analysis, Bangalore, November 25, 2008.

Web: Balaji Prabhakar
Office: Packard 269
Phone: (650) 723-5896

Assistant: Andrea Kuduk
Office: Packard 267
Phone: (650) 723-4731