At the Interface between Computer Science and Economics

July 6th, 2010 by Erwin Gianchandani Post a comment »

NSF/CISE has just announced a new program at the Interface between Computer Science and Economics & Social Science (ICES):

Computational thinking has the potential to change the types of questions considered by social and economic scientists. For example, Nash (and other) equilibria lie at the heart of theories about the behavior of economic agents. Computational thinking can help characterize the range and robustness of possible equilibria and markets for which the computation of equilibria is intractable. Theories of strategic learning by computational agents, studied both in economics and computer science, can shed light on the dynamics of how agents arrive at equilibria. Theories of the spread of contagion or gossip in networks can help explain and contain the chain reactions that can arise. Social/behavioral/economic and computer scientists can jointly study the dynamic functioning and evolution of social and economic networks with mutual benefit to both fields of study. Some important examples of such systems are recommender systems, voting systems, and reputation management systems.

This new program came out of a workshop held last September at Cornell University that was well attended by computer scientists and economists alike. The report from the workshop provides an excellent introduction to this research area.

(Contributed by Lance Fortnow, Northwestern University)