This week Bill and I have traveled to Germany for the Dagstuhl Seminar on Algebraic and Combinatorial Methods in Computational Complexity. Plenty of newly minted Nobel laureates here, winners of the Peace Prize last Friday. But this post celebrates today's winners of the Economics Prize, Al Roth and Lloyd Shapley for their work in matching theory that has made a difference in the real world.
In 1962, Shapley and David Gale created the first algorithm that finds stable marriages. David Gale would surely have shared this award had he not passed away in 2008. Nicole Immorlica's guest obit of Gale nicely describes this work and its applications including matching medical students with residencies.
Al Roth uses matching algorithms for a variety of projects, most notably creating large scale kidney exchanges, saving lives with algorithmic mechanism design. Doesn't get cooler than that.