CS-ECON Seminar Series

Computational Fair Division and Mechanism Design

Speaker:Simina Branzei
Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: North Bldg. 311 (directions below), Duke
Pizza will be served at 11:45. Enter North Bldg. at the main entrance near the Research Dr. traffic circle. Enter the door to the right, Duke Computer Science.


The emergence of online platforms has brought about a fundamental shift in economic thinking: the design of economic systems is now a problem that computer science can tackle. For the first time we are able to move from the study of economic systems as mainly natural systems to carefully designing and executing them on a computer. Prominent examples of digital market mechanisms include auctions for ads (run by companies such as Google) and electromagnetic spectrum (used by the US government). I will discuss several recent developments in fair division and mechanism design. I will start with a dictatorship theorem for fair division (cake cutting), showing that requiring truthfulness gives rise to a dictator. Next, I will turn to the paradigmatic model of multi-unit markets, where I will show that truthfulness requires discarding resources, but this problem can be alleviated when the market is even mildly competitive. More generally, I will discuss the theme of simplicity and complexity in mechanism design, and the interplay between economics and computation and learning.


Simina Branzei is an I-CORE postdoctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in the area of Economics and Computation. Her research has been published at top conferences in artificial intelligence such as AAAI and IJCAI, and she received multiple awards, such as the Simons-Berkeley fellowship, the IBM Ph.D. fellowship, and the Google Anita Borg Memorial scholarship. She completed a Ph.D. at Aarhus University, Denmark, M.Math from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and held visiting positions at Tsinghua University, China, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Hosted by:
Vince Conitzer