Dertouzos Lecturer Series: Professor Anna Karlin

Professor Anna Karlin of the University of Washington gave a talk titled "Mechanism Design for Fun and Profit" on April 8, 2004.


The emergence of the Internet as one of the most important arenas for resource sharing between parties with diverse and selfish interests has led to a number of fascinating and new algorithmic problems. In these problems, one must solicit the inputs to each computation from participants (or agents) whose goal is to manipulate the computation to their own advantage. Until fairly recently, failure models in computer science have not dealt the notion of selfish participants who "play by the rules" only when it fits them. To deal with this, algorithms must be designed so as to provide motivation to the participants to "play along". Recent work in this area has drawn on ideas from game theory and microeconomics, and specifically from the field of mechanism design. One popular approach is to design protocols so that rational agents will be motivated to adhere to the protocol. In this talk, we survey recent work in this area and present a number of directions for future research.


Anna Karlin, Professor, received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1987. Before coming to the University of Washington, she spent 5 years as a researcher at (what was then) Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center. Her research is primarily in theoretical computer science: the design and analysis of algorithms, particularly probabilistic and online algorithms. Recently, she has been working at the interface between theory and other areas, such as data mining, economics and game theory, operating systems, networks,and distributed systems. For more information: Professor Anna Karlin's Home Page CSAIL Dertouzos Lecturer Series