Colloquium - Jason Hartline, "Mechanism Design for the Classroom"
What is the theory of computation outside digital computers?
An answer comes from the field of mechanism design which studies how algorithms to design good algorithms when inputs to algorithms come from individuals who may manipulate the algorithm for their own benefit. Mechanism design underlies modern online markets such as Uber, AirBnB, and StackExchange.
This talk will bring the perspective of mechanism design to the classroom with a focus on the peer grading platform PeerPal and the challenge of incentivizing accurate peer reviews. Scoring rules are a concept from statistics that are broadly used for evaluating beliefs and predictions. Taking a mechanism design perspective, we will formalize and solve the problem of optimizing scoring rules for incentivizing effort of of the peer reviewers. In the context of peer grading, good scoring rules reward peers for identifying ways in which a submission is unusual rather than averaging across grading criteria.
Jason Hartline is a Professor of Computer Science at the Northwestern University. Prof. Hartline’s research introduces design and analysis methodologies from computer science to understand and improve outcomes of economic and legal systems. His graduate textbook Mechanism Design and Approximation which is under preparation. Prof. Hartline has received many awards for his work including the SIGecom test of time award. He was a founding codirector of the Institute for Data, Econometrics, Algorithms, and Learning from 2019-2022, and is a cofounder of virtual conference organizing platform Virtual Chair.