Brânzei earns NSF CAREER award
Simina Brânzei, assistant professor of computer science
Simina Brânzei, assistant professor of computer science, received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her project titled, “Dynamics of Searching for Equilibria.” Her intention is to conduct research and contribute to the theoretical foundations of games, learning, and dynamics.
The interdisciplinary project brings together tools from game theory, algorithms, complexity, dynamical systems, economics, optimization, machine learning, probability, and statistics. Motivating applications include designing efficient and equitable markets on online platforms and devising mechanisms for allocating waste.
Research directions under this umbrella include:
- Market dynamics, where computationally bounded players with local information only interact over time. Are globally efficient allocations likely to be reached, despite each player optimizing locally? Will the market grow/shrink?
- Incentives in learning, focusing on games where even a few players are learning together but have different incentives that can influence their actions. What algorithms should the players use in environments where other players are learning at the same time?
- Local search, which models processes such as best response dynamics in congestion games. A high-level question is: How is the geometry of the graph related to the complexity of local search?
By answering questions in this space, the research will contribute to the theoretical foundations of games, learning, and dynamics while also providing insight into motivating applications.
NSF CAREER awards are the organization’s most prestigious awards given to junior faculty who embody the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of those concepts within the mission of their organizations. CAREER awards support promising and talented researchers in building a foundation for a lifetime of leadership. Receiving this award reflects this project’s merit of the NSF statutory mission and its worthiness of financial support.
Simina Brânzei is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University. Her research interests are in theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, in particular algorithmic game theory and theoretical aspects of learning. Prior to joining the department in 2018, she received a PhD from Aarhus University in Denmark and completed postdoctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. Brânzei was named a 2022 Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences.
About the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University
Founded in 1962, the Department of Computer Science was created to be an innovative base of knowledge in the emerging field of computing as the first degree-awarding program in the United States. The department continues to advance the computer science industry through research. US News & Reports ranks Purdue CS #20 and #16 overall in graduate and undergraduate programs respectively, seventh in cybersecurity, 10th in software engineering, 13th in programming languages, data analytics, and computer systems, and 19th in artificial intelligence. Graduates of the program are able to solve complex and challenging problems in many fields. Our consistent success in an ever-changing landscape is reflected in the record undergraduate enrollment, increased faculty hiring, innovative research projects, and the creation of new academic programs. The increasing centrality of computer science in academic disciplines and society, and new research activities - centered around data science, artificial intelligence, programming languages, theoretical computer science, machine learning, and cybersecurity - are the future focus of the department. cs.purdue.edu
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