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As many of you have probably anticipated, due to concerns regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the 2020 ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (EC 2020) will be held virtually.

This change of format will of course present us with difficult challenges, but we believe it will offer exciting new opportunities as well.  (And not to worry, your opportunity to attend EC in Budapest is just deferred to 2021.)

The SIGecom Executive Committee has appointed and will serve on a Virtual Transition Team that additionally includes the following new conference officers:

This team is working with the EC 2020 organizing committee and EC 2020 PC chairs to put together a plan that leverages the opportunities of the virtual format to the fullest extent. Though these plans are still in the works, we have identified the following “minimal commitment” for authors of accepted papers to the main EC conference: at least one author will need to

  • register for the conference;
  • be available virtually on the conference dates (July 14-16);
  • provide a camera-ready paper or abstract by the camera-ready deadline;
  • provide a pre-recorded talk presenting the paper two weeks in advance (by June 28).

We are optimistic that, while a virtual EC may lack some of the positive features of a classical conference, the format will also provide opportunities that improve on the classical experience.  As with any conference there will be opportunities to participate beyond the “minimal commitment.”  We hope that speakers and participants will join in other activities, which may include preview sessions for talks before the conference proper, watch parties for speakers and attendees, and mechanisms for reaching a wider audience with the technical program. With many academic interactions moving virtual, the barriers to collaboration with distant colleagues have lowered, and we hope that EC 2020 will kindle and rekindle global collaborations.

Further details about these activities as well as the minimal requirements will be circulated by June 1.

Tutorial speakers and workshop organizers will receive separate emails from the Tutorial and Workshop Chairs about plans for moving these events online.

https://sites.google.com/view/behavioralec2020/
July 17, 2020, Budapest, Hungary
At the 21st ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (ACM EC ’20)
**In the event the in-person conference does not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will hold the workshop virtually.
SUBMISSIONS DUE May 18, 2020, 11:59pm PDT.
Call for Papers: the 2nd Workshop on Behavioral Economics and Computation
We solicit research contributions and participants for the 2nd Workshop on Behavioral Economics and Computation, to be held in conjunction with the Twenty-First ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (ACM EC ’20).
Based on the successful workshop last year, we aim to bring together again researchers and practitioners from diverse subareas of EC, who are interested in the intersection of human economic behavior and computation, to share new results and to discuss future directions for behavioral research related to economics and computation. It will be a full-day workshop, and will feature invited speakers, contributed paper presentations and a panel discussion.
The gap between rationality-based analysis that assumes utility-maximizing agents and actual human behavior in the real world has been well recognized in economics, psychology and other social sciences. In recent years, there has been growing interest in conducting behavioral research across many of the sub-areas related to economics and computation to address this gap. In one direction, some of these studies leverage insights on human decision making from the behavioral economics and psychology literature to study economic and computational systems with human users. In the other direction, computational tools are used to study and gain insights on human behavior and a data-driven approach is used to learn behavior models from user-generated data.

The 2nd Behavioral EC workshop aims to provide a venue for researchers and practitioners from diverse fields, including but not limited to computer science, economics, psychology and sociology, to exchange ideas related to behavioral research in economics and computation. In addition to sharing new results, we hope the workshop will foster a lively discussion of future directions and methodologies for behavioral research related to economics and computation as well as fruitful cross-pollination of behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and computer science.

We welcome studies at the intersection of economic behavior and computation from a rich set of theoretical, experimental and empirical perspectives. The topics of interest for the workshop are behavioral research in all settings covered by EC, including but not limited to:
  • Behavioral mechanism design and applied mechanism design
  • Boundedly-rational models of economic decision making
  • Empirical studies of human economic behavior
  • Model evaluation and selection based on behavioral data
  • Data-driven modelling
  • Online prediction markets, online experiments, and crowdsourcing platforms
  • Hybrid human-machine systems
  • Models and experiments about social considerations (e.g. fairness and trust) in decision making
  • Methods for behavioral EC: information aggregation, probability elicitation, quality control
Submission Instructions
Submission deadline: May 18, 2020, 11:59pm PDT.
Notification: June 11, 2020
All submissions will be peer reviewed. We will give priority to new (unpublished) research papers but will also consider ongoing research and recently published papers that may be of interest to the workshop audience. For submissions of published papers, authors must clearly state the venue of publication. Position papers and panel discussion proposals are also welcome. Papers will be reviewed for relevance, significance, originality, research contribution, and likelihood to catalyze discussion.

Submissions can be in any format and any length. We recommend the EC submission format.
The workshop will not have archival proceedings but will post accepted papers on the workshop website. At least one author of each accepted paper will be expected to attend and present their findings at the workshop.

Submissions should be uploaded to Easychair no later than May 18th, 2020, 11:59pm PDT.
Organizing Committee

Yiling Chen, Harvard University
Dan Goldstein, Microsoft Research
Kevin Leyton-Brown, University of British Columbia
Shengwu Li, Harvard University
Gali Noti, Hebrew University

More Information

For more information or questions, visit the workshop website:
https://sites.google.com/view/behavioralec2020/
or email the organizing committee: behavioralec2020@easychair.org

Our community has some outstanding long-running virtual seminars, and there are many traditional seminars now moving to a virtual format.  Northwestern Ph.D. students Modibo Camara and Yiding Feng have a collection of them in a Google Calendar at Virtual CS+Econ Seminars.  Don’t miss any of the action!

The topics include but not limited to theoretical computer science, economic theory, theoretical machine learning, and econometrics.  The calendar currently tracks talks in Caltech Econ Theory, Chamberlain Seminar in Econometrics, IDEAL, MD4SG, and TCS+. Send other relevant talk series or one-off events to Modibo and Yiding at VirtualCSEconSeminar@gmail.com.

The ACM EC20 conference to be held on July 13-17, 2020 in Budapest is now calling for proposals for tutorials and workshops.  The deadline for submission of such proposals is March 2nd, 2020.

Here’s Alex’s announcement of his new book, which I am very excited about, and many in our community would no doubt find extremely useful (there’s even an open version on arXiv!):


I am pleased to announce Introduction to multi-armed bandits, a broad and accessible introduction to the area which emphasizes connections to operations research, game theory, and mechanism design. The said connections have generated a considerable amount of interest (and publications) in the Economics and Computation community.

The book is teachable by design: each chapter corresponds to one week of my class. Each chapter handles one big direction in the literature on bandits, covers the first-order concepts and results on a technical level, and provides a detailed literature review for further exploration. There are no prerequisites other than a certain level of mathematical maturity.

The chapters are as follows: stochastic bandits; lower bounds; Bayesian bandits and Thompson Sampling; Lipschitz Bandits; full feedback and adversarial costs; adversarial bandits; linear costs and semi-bandits; contextual bandits; bandits and games; bandits with knapsacks; bandits and incentives.

The book is also available on arxiv (in a plain-format version).

Aleksandrs Slivkins
Microsoft Research NYC

The “Young” Workshop on Economics and Computation (YoungEC) will be held in Tel-Aviv University, Israel, during December 31st, 2019 to January 2nd, 2020. The list of speakers includes a small number of established central figures in the field together with a larger number of bright rising stars worldwide.

The workshop is now open for registration.

Please nominate for the SIGecom Test of Time Award.

The SIGecom Test of Time Award recognizes the author or authors of an influential paper or series of papers published between ten and twenty-five years ago that has significantly impacted research or applications exemplifying the interplay of economics and computation.

To be eligible, a paper or series of papers must be on a topic in the intersection of economics and computation, and must have been first published, in preliminary or final form, in an archival journal or conference proceedings no less than ten years and no more than twenty-five years before the year the award is conferred. Papers for which all authors are deceased at the time the Award Committee makes its decision are not eligible for the award.

The 2020 SIGecom Test of Time Award will be given for papers published no earlier than 1995 and no later than 2010. Nominations are due by February 29th, 2020, and must be made by email to the Award Committee with “2020 ACM SIGecom Test of Time Award” in the subject.

See details at https://www.sigecom.org/awardt.html

 

The 2020 Test of Time Award Committee

Paul Milgrom, Stanford University

Noam Nisan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Éva Tardos (chair), Cornell University

By David Eppstein & Vijay Vazirani

No, not to make theoreticians rich! Besides, who will buy your papers anyway? (Quite the opposite, you will be lucky if you can convince someone to take them for free, just for sake of publicity!) What we are proposing is a market in which no money changes hands – a matching market – for matching papers to conferences.

First, a short preamble on how the idea emerged.

Preamble (by Vijay):  Soon after my recent Simons talk on Matching Markets, I sent its url to Al Roth. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting a return email. However, the perfect gentleman and ultimate scholar that Al is, he did reply, and mentioned that he did not like my “definition” of matching markets and said, “I guess I would say matching markets are markets because they aggregate information that is held by the participants, which is what markets do (even if they don’t use prices to do it..).” This hit me like lightening from the sky – suddenly it crystallized the innate intuition about markets which I had formed through work on algorithmic aspects of markets! I thanked Al profusely and added, “This definitely helps in me get the right perspective on the notion!”

About a week ago, while updating my talk for a seminar at Columbia University, I included this beautiful insight in it and then a thought occurred: Each PC meeting involves aggregation of information from a large number of agents: PC members as well as external experts. Hence, isn’t a conference a matching market? Excitedly, I sent this question to Al. He replied, “… the conference process, matching papers to conferences, is a market and a particular conference might be a marketplace … ”

When I returned home, my esteemed colleague, David Eppstein, stunned me by declaring that he had thought of a market relevant to our field in which no money changes hands. I immediately knew he was thinking of the conference process. But he got to it out of the blue … and not the long process it took me!

Back to the idea:  In the past, matching markets have brought immense efficiency and order in allocation problems in which use of money is considered repugnant, the prime examples being matching medical residents to hospitals, kidney exchange, and assignment of students of a large city to its schools.

At present we are faced with massive inefficiencies in the conference process – numerous researchers are trapped in unending cycles of submit … get reject … incorporate comments … resubmit — often to the next deadline which has been conveniently arranged a couple of days down the road so the unwitting participants are conditioned into mindlessly keep coming back for more, much like Pavlov’s dog.

We are proposing a matching market approach to finally obliterate this madness. We believe such a market is feasible using the following ideas. No doubt our scheme will have some drawbacks; however, as should be obvious, the advantages far outweigh them.

First, for co-located symposia within a larger umbrella conference, such as the
conferences within ALGO or FCRC, the following process should be a no-brainer:

1). Ensure a common deadline for all symposia; denote the latter by S.

2). Let R denote the set of researchers who wish to submit one paper to a symposium in this umbrella conference – assume that researchers submitting more than one paper will have multiple names, one for each submission. Each researcher will provide a strict preference order over the subset of symposia to which they wish to submit their paper. Let G denote the bipartite graph with vertex sets (R, S) and an edge (r, s) only if researcher r chose symposium s.

3). The umbrella conference will have a large common PC with experts representing all of its symposia. The process of assigning papers to PC members will of course use G in a critical way.

Once papers are reviewed by PC members and external reviewers, each symposium will rank its submissions using its own criteria of acceptance. We believe the overhead of ranking each paper multiple times is minimal since that is just an issue of deciding how “on-topic” a paper is – an easy task once the reviews of the paper are available.

4). Finally, using all these preference lists, a researcher-proposing stable matching is computed using the Gale-Shapley algorithm. As is well-known, this mechanism will be dominant strategy incentive compatible for researchers.

With a little extra effort, a similar scheme can also be used for a group of conferences at diverse locations but similar times, such as some of the annual summer theory conferences, STOC, ICALP, ESA, STAC, WADS/SWAT, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Research New York City is hiring in Economics and Computation. We are looking for a postdoc and a full-time researcher (at all levels), with a start date in July 2020. Please encourage strong candidates to apply by December 1.

Research in Economics and Computation group at Microsoft Research NYC, and a closely affiliated group at MSR New England, spans a wide variety of topics at the intersection of economics and computation. Topics include algorithmic game theory, design of mechanisms and markets, crowdsourcing & human computation, exploration and incentives, information aggregation & elicitation, including polling and prediction markets, machine learning in economics, fair decision making, and social network theory. 

More information on the position and how to apply: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job/730319/Postdoctoral-Researcher-Economics, 
https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job/730201/Senior-Researcher, 
https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job/730202/Principal-Researcher. 

Our Economics and Computation group: 
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/group/economics-and-computer-science/  

And everyone at MSR-NYC: 
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/lab/microsoft-research-new-york/people/?# . 

Please note that MSR-NYC is hiring in other areas too. To learn more, go to: 
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/lab/microsoft-research-new-york/opportunities/?# . 

Microsoft Research has multiple research intern positions in the Economics and Computation group and Microeconomics group for the Summer of 2020. Positions are available in both the New England and New York City labs.

Research areas include market design, algorithmic game theory, social network theory, prediction markets, connections between economics and machine learning, applied and theoretical microeconomics, public economics, industrial organization, behavioral economics, and applied and theoretical econometrics (including ALICE).

Potential mentors in MSR NE include  Hunt Allcott, Greg Lewis, Brendan Lucier, Markus Mobius, and Vasilis Syrgkanis.  Potential mentors in MSR NYC include Nicole Immorlica, David Rothschild, Alex Slivkins and Jenn Wortman Vaughan.

Candidates must be currently enrolled in a PhD program in Computer Science, Economics, or a related field.  Please apply by December 13 for full consideration.  The application for MSR NE can be found here; the application for MSR NYC can be found here.  Candidates are encouraged to apply to both postings.

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