Social distance games

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 (all day)

Speaker: Katherine Larson

Professor Kate Larson, associate professor with the Cheriton School of Computer Science (University of Waterloo), lectures on coalitional games. These games involve players interacting together in tandem to accomplish more together than they would individually. Her work, done jointly with Simina Branzei, has involved creating a model of social network interaction using coalitional game theory and the notion of social distance. They used social distance games to determine an approximate algorithm for determining optimal social welfare. Findings suggest that social networks exhibit homophily.


Dr. Katherine Larson is interested in issues that arise in settings where self-interested agents interact. She works with ideas that lie in the intersection of artificial intelligence, game theory and microeconomics.

In particular, she is interested in understanding how computational limitations influence strategic behavior in multi-agent systems, as well as developing approaches to overcome computational issues which arise in practical applications of mechanism design. Applications of her work ranges from electronic market design to incentive-based computing.

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