Sunday, July 6, 2014

Harold Kuhn passes away

Pioneering mathematician Harold Kuhn has passed away this week. Kuhn was known for various contributions: Karush–Kuhn–Tucker conditions (for a solution in nonlinear programming to be optimal); Kuhn's theorem (that relates perfect recall, mixed and unmixed strategies and their expected payoffs); and the Hungarian method for computing the minimum cost perfect matching of a bipartite graph.

I recall attending Kuhn's plenary lecture at EURO 2010 in Lisbon where he gave a charming talk about the history of the Hungarian method and the recent discovery of how Carl Gustav Jacobi had already solved the assignment problem in the 19th century. Kuhn gave a detailed history of the other figures such as Dénes Konig and Jenó Egerváry who all played their part in the development of ideas related to the Hungarian Method.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cutting a round cake on scientific principles

Cake cutting started off as a topic of mathematical curiosity but has become a full-fledged topic within the field of "fair division" because of its ability to abstractly capture settings in which a heterogeneous divisible good is to be allocated among multiple people. The main goal is to identify methods to cut the cake that are as fair and welfare maximizing as possible. The field originated in the 1940's due to to work of Polish mathematicians Steinhaus, Knaster & Banach.

Recently, a video has been doing the rounds that suggests that a formal study of cake cutting dates even earlier than the 1940's. The video discusses a Nature letter by Francis Galton dated 1906 regarding the optimal method to cut the cake so as to minimize the exposed surface that may become dry.

For those who are interested to see Galton's actual letter, here it is:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

ESEI / UTS Center for Market Design Conference in honor of John Ledyard: 24-25 July 2014

Location: Room B424, Level 4, ‘B Block’, UTS Business School 1-59 Quay Street, Haymarket, Sydney, Australia

July 24, 2014 

(9am - 4:30pm)

Roy Green, Dean of the UTS Business School.Welcome

John Ledyard (California Institute of Technology)
“A Simple Buy‐back Auction for Fisheries Management” with Guillerme Freitas and Theodore Groves 

Leslie M. Marx (Duke University)
“Equilibrium Bid Strategies in an Auction with Bidder Preferences and Resale”
with Simon Loertscher

Jun Zhang (University of Technology, Sydney)
“Information Disclosure In Contests: A Bayesian Persuasion Approach” with Junjie Zhou

Murali Agastya (University of Sydney)
“On Efficient Partnership Dissolution” with Oleksii Birulin

Paul PezanisChristou (University of Adelaide)
 “Supply information policies in sequential and simultaneous high‐bid auctions”
with Nobuyuki Hanaki and Tibor Neugebaeur

Tom Wilkening (University of Melbourne)
“A Long Way Coming: Designing Centralized Markets with Privately Informed Buyers and Sellers” with Simon Loertscher and Leslie M. Marx

Antonio Rosato (University of Technology, Sydney)
“Loss Aversion in Sequential Auctions: Endogenous Interdependence, Informational Externalities and the “Afternoon Effect"

July 25, 2014 

(9am - 4:30pm)

Peter Bossaerts (University of Melbourne)
“Human‐Robot Interaction In A Classical Experiment On Multi‐Period Asset Pricing” with Elena Asparouhova

Robert Slonim (University of Sydney)
“Improving Blood Donations: A Summary of 6 Papers” with Ashley Craig, Ellen Garbarino, Stephanie Heger, Victor Iajya, Mario Macis, Nicola Lacetera and Carmen Wang.

Haris Aziz (NICTA and UNSW)
“Cake Cutting Algorithms for Piecewise Constant and Piecewise Uniform Valuations” with Chun Ye

Andy McLennan (University of Queensland)
“On Uniqueness of Equilibrium in the Kyle Model” with Paulo Klinger Monteiro and Rabee Tourky

Claudio Mezzetti (University of Melbourne)
“Repeated Nash Implementation” with Ludovic Renou  

Juan Carlos, Carbajal (University of New South Wales)
“Plasticity, Monotonicity, and Implementability” with Rudolf Müller

Priscilla Man (University of Queensland)
“Generalized Majority Rules” with Marco Faravelli


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Terence Tao wins 3 million dollar prize

Adelaide-born genius Terrence Tao gets another feather in his cap with the  $US 3 million Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Having already won the Fields Medal in 2006, The Abel prize seems to be the only prize eluding Tao. 

[Hat tip to Felix Brandt]

Monday, May 12, 2014


Jean-François Laslier and his colleagues are undertaking an interesting online experiment to compare different electoral systems for selecting members of the European Parliament. The project is called EuroVote+ and allows online participants to vote via different electoral systems. The goal is to understand the following questions:

  • Does the electoral system have an impact on who gets elected? 
  • Are the different systems really different? 
  • Is there a better system?

[Hat tip to Felix Brandt]