Saturday, October 04, 2008

NYCE: After Lunch

We selected a set of about 10 submissions for 5 min "rump session" presentations. This worked out phenomenally. There were
  • Announcements: David, Chair of SIGecom, promoted the organization; Anindya announced CeDER, a center at NYU Stern; and Sampath discussed NSF program for funding the CS+Economics area (commenting on how CS was cool, Sampath, the effortless cross-bearer, said, "Being cool is a terrible cross to bear.")
  • CS Style Theorems: Gagan Goel described results on using two additional bidders to get improved efficiency and revenue. Sebastien Lahaie described their results on using a tree to represent bids for display ads more expressively. Jacomo Corbo and Aaron Jaggard presented results related to network connectivity games.
  • Ecom+Marketing Style Psts: Nikolay Archak, Christina Aperjis, Ivy Li, and Zhengzheng Pan presented large amount of work via broad stroke of ideas related to designing reputation scores , economics of user generated content and feedback-related mechanisms.

The final pst after a coffee break (in which we rectified the mistake from AM that Esther pointed out and this time provided the much-needed cookies to go with the coffee) was by Tuomas Sandholm. I have heard a lot about Tuomas's energy and he exceeded my estimates. He hit on all fronts: impact in practice (he described his company's work with expressive auctions for 40B worth of sourcing), in theory (mixing learning and complexity aspects with equal ease), in principle (addressing some questions of expressivity needed some angst in formulating the problem), and in philosophy (why VCG auctions are not practical, how expressive should auctions get). He showed he can do academic beauty and face reality, too. Very inspiring.

ps: Our sincere thanks to NYAS for helping us organize this event. Karin Pavese, my contact, is a scientist who has gone from corporate research to legistation (working with Sen. Lieberman), and is now leading the physical sciences effort at NYAS, with a heart for spreading the message and programs worldwide. Renee orchestrated the organization of the event, and was the reason why all 4 organizers were less tense than usual!


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