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Daskalakis wins Microsoft Faculty Fellowship

Constantinos Daskalakis
Constantinos Daskalakis

Constantinos Daskalakis, X-Window Consortium Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and a principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), has been named a 2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow. Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grants are awarded to promising young researchers around the world in recognition of their groundbreaking, high-impact work that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging social problems.

Daskalakis’ research focuses on “computational problems at the interface of computer science and economics,” in particular those relating to the design and study of the Internet. In addition to being a computational platform, the Internet also serves as a complex economic system lacking centralized governance. To gain a better understanding of its operation, computer scientists, such as Daskalakis, are applying economic principles to this field.

Through his research, Daskalakis hopes to gain a better understanding of “what is happening in complex economic environments and how to design systems that have good properties when economic and computational phenomena take place at the same time.”

As part of this research, Daskalakis is examining the applicability of economic concepts such as the Nash Equilibrium to the study of complex economic systems. His research has shown that the Nash Equilibrium, which had been the crown jewel of equilibrium concepts in Game Theory since the birth of this field, might actually not arise in practice, making its use unjustifiable or irrelevant from a practical perspective.

On the design aspect of the Internet, Daskalakis is performing research on the design of auctions. Building off of work by Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson, who along with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric Maskin laid the foundations of auction design theory, Daskalakis and his students recently presented a new theory for the formerly elusive problem of when and how multiple items should be sold at auction under differing market conditions.

As for being named a recipient of a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow grant, Daskalakis explained that it is an honor to have his work recognized and supported.

Daskalakis completed his undergraduate studies in Greece, at the National Technical University of Athens, and obtained a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. After Berkeley he was a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research New England, and has been on the faculty of MIT since 2009. Daskalakis is an affiliate of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and the Operations Research Center (ORC) at MIT.

The Microsoft Faculty Fellowship Program encompasses more than 40 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and innovation identifies them as emerging leaders in their fields. The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows also have access to other Microsoft resources, such as software, invitations to conferences, and engagements with Microsoft Research.

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