Speaker: Lance Fortnow , Northwestern UniversityContact:
Date: February 12 2008
Time: 4:15PM to 5:45PM
Host: Scott Aaronson, CSAIL, MIT
Be Blackburn, 3-6098, email@example.comRelevant URL:
What are we aware of? More than a philosophical pursuit, awareness plays a crucial role in decision making as one cannot make a choice that one is not aware of. Billions of advertising dollars are spent in increasing the awareness of their brands.
Most work on awareness has focused on logical/axiomatic approaches (for example you are aware of something if you know it or you know you don't know it). Instead we put awareness through a computational lens, roughly defining the unawareness of an object as the amount of time it takes to enumerate that object given the current environment. For example, if you want to buy a car, the ones you are most aware of are those which come earlier if you attempted to start enumerating cars.
Based on Levin's "age" function, we give a formal definition of unawareness using this intuition. The formal definition uses a universal enumeration as good as any other computable enumeration up to constant factors. Our definition differs from earlier approaches as we talk about the awareness of strings as opposed to the truth of some statement and gives a quantitative measure of unawareness instead of just a binary awareness/unawareness choice.
We will give some observations on how newer technologies, like search engines, have affected our awareness of various information, and how we can become unaware of objects we were once aware of.
We discuss a couple of applications:
- Why do loopholes occur in laws and contracts? We give an explanation based on the lack of awareness of the legislators of future circumstances and of the judge's unawareness of what the legislature's awareness.
- We give a new view of sponsored search auctions based on awareness and show new bidding strategies when the advertisers wish to increase awareness of their products.
This talk will cover mostly very preliminary research parts of which represent joint work with Kim-Sau Chung and Nikhil Devanur.
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