Asuman Ozdaglar, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been appointed to the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professorship in Electrical Engineering. The Keithley Chair was originally created as a career development chair, during which time it was held by Professor Martin Schlecht, Professor Hae-Seung Lee, and Professor Martin Schmidt. In 1990 the chair was converted to a senior professorship. From 1990 to 2005, the chair was held by Professor Henry Smith, and most recently by Anantha P. Chandrakasan, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
“Professor Ozdaglar is a star in the research areas of optimization theory, economic and social networked systems, and game theory,” wrote Anantha P. Chandrakasan, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in an email announcing the appointment. “She has made truly outstanding contributions related to interdisciplinary research, curriculum development and teaching, mentoring, and service.”
Ozdaglar and collaborators have made several key contributions to optimization theory, ranging from theoretical work in convex analysis and duality to distributed and incremental algorithms for large-scale systems. Ozdaglar has focused a large part of her research on integrating analysis of social and economic interactions into the study of networks. Her work spans many dimensions of this area including learning and communication, diffusion and information propagation, and influence in social networks. Another example of her impact in this area is the framework she has developed for studying cascades and systemic risk in economic and financial networks. Ozdaglar continues to make key contributions to game theory including learning dynamics and computation of Nash equilibria in continuous games. She has been recognized by these communities as a leader in this new and emerging field and has won key awards, including the prestigious Donald P. Eckman Award. She was also recognized at MIT with the award of the inaugural Steven and Renee Finn Fellowship. She is the co-author of the book entitled “Convex Analysis and Optimization” together with Dimitri Bertsekas and Angelia Nedich.
In October 2014, Ozdaglar became the director for the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and the associate director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). She is playing a critical leadership role in shaping the future of IDSS, which focuses on solving complex societal challenges utilizing rigorous methods from analytics, statistics and data science, and social sciences. She is currently co-leading the effort to launch a financial risk initiative within IDSS. Ozdaglar is also a Technical Program co-chair of the 2015 Rising Stars program in EECS. She has organized numerous conferences and sessions on game theory, networks, and distributed optimization.
Ozdaglar has made numerous educational contribution to the MIT community, including the development of the game theory subject 6.254 (Game Theory with Engineering Applications). She has also developed 6.207 (Networks), which is jointly listed with MIT Economics. She has taught a variety of other courses including 6.011 (Introduction to Communication, Control and Signal Processing), 6.252 (Nonlinear Programming), and 6.251 (Introduction to Mathematical Programming). For her educational contributions, she was honored with the MIT Graduate Student Council's Teaching Award for the School of Engineering in 2004.