Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Theory Day at University of Maryland

University of Maryland had its 20th THEORY DAY. It was organized by Samir Khuller Samir Khuller and Azarakhsh Malekian.
  1. There was a theme! All of the talks were on Game Theory/Social Networks/Auctions/Internet stuff. Most theory days do not have a theme, but this one was organized in a different way- Azar knew that some of these people would be in town for INFORMS.
  2. Having a theme was GOOD. Usually at theory day (anywhere) I have to get my head into a certain mode of thinking and then it changes with every talk. Here my head was in the same mode all day.
  3. One odd thing- I got 4 `short introductions to Game Theory'.
  4. Jason Hartline and Nicole Immorlica gave talks. I had never met them before so I got to see if they looked like their images in the this famous poster. They looked more like themselves then Lance did, but not much. Then Jason turned his back and bent it a bit and THEN he looked like the poster.
  5. Here are the talks:
    1. Mohammad Mahdian. Yahoo! Research. Externalities in Online Advertising.
    2. Nicole Immorlica. Northwestern University. The Role of Compatibility in Technology Diffusion on Social Networks.
    3. Konstantinos Daskalakis. Microsoft Research. Computing Equilibria in Large Games.
    4. Jason Hartline. Northwestern University.
    5. Vahab Mirrokni. Google. Submodular Optimization: Maximization, Learning, and Applications.
    6. Amin Saberi. Stanford University. Game Dynamics, Equilibrium Selection and Network Structure.
  6. They all gave excellent talks. Why was that? Well, for one thing, they were excellent speakers. But also this is a relatively young field so the work is still close to the motivation (there are fields of math where the motivation has been forgotten over time!). And the motivation is itself easy to explain.
  7. The conference was intentionally the same time as INFORMS so that people who were going there anyway could give talks and/or attend our Theory Day.
  8. Kudos to Samir and Azar for organizing it!


  1. I would like to thank the speakers for giving wonderful talks - we are also going to post their slides on the web page next week, since I would like to look at them as well.

    Six talks was a lot for one day!
    Thanks to everyone who attended.

  2. Might be worth noting -- another theoretician gets a nice award: Ryan O'Donnel wins an Okawa grant.