Tuesday, October 25, 2016. 12:00PM. NSH 3305.

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Ashish Goel - Decision Making at Scale: Algorithms and Deployments

YouTube competes with Hollywood as an entertainment channel, and also supplements Hollywood by acting as a distribution mechanism. Twitter has a similar relationship to news media, and Coursera to Universities. But there are no online alternatives for making democratic decisions at large scale as a society. In this talk, we will describe some algorithmic approaches towards large scale decision making that we are exploring. In particular, we will describe algorithms for voting in elections which design a budget, and in deliberative processes where a group decision in made via a succession of small group interactions. We will also present general impossibility and fairness results for cardinal utilities given ordinal votes, under the metric assumption.

We will also describe our experience running crowdsourced democracy processes in the US, Canada, and Finland. Finally, we will outline several open algorithmic problems in this space.

This represents joint work with Tanja Aitamurto, Brandon Fain, Anilesh Krishnaswamy, David Lee, Kamesh Munagala, and Sukolsak Sakshuwong.

Short bio: Ashish Goel is a Professor of Management Science and Engineering and (by courtesy) Computer Science at Stanford University, and a member of Stanford's Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. He received his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California from 1999 to 2002. His research interests lie in the design, analysis, and applications of algorithms; current application areas of interest include social networks, participatory democracy, Internet commerce, and large scale data processing. Professor Goel is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan faculty fellowship (2004-06), a Terman faculty fellowship from Stanford, an NSF Career Award (2002-07), and a Rajeev Motwani mentorship award (2010). He was a co-author on the paper that won the best paper award at WWW 2009, and an Edelman Laureate in 2014.

Professor Goel was a research fellow and technical advisor at Twitter, Inc. from July 2009 to Aug 2014.