[Intelligence Seminar] January 28, 3:30pm: , Presentation by David Sarne

Dana Houston dhouston at cs.cmu.edu
Mon Jan 20 09:41:21 EST 2014

JANUARY 28 AT 3:30PM, IN GCH 6115

SPEAKER: DAVID SARNE (Bar-Ilan University)
Host: Ariel Procaccia
For meetings, contact Pat Loring (sawako at cs.cmu.edu 
<mailto:sawako at cs.cmu.edu>)


In many multi-agent systems we find information brokers or information 
technologies aiming to provide the agents with more information or 
reduce the cost of acquiring new information. In this talk I will show 
that better information can hurt: the presence of an information 
provider, even if the use of her services is optional, can degrade both 
individual agents' utilities and overall social welfare. The talk will 
focus on two specific domains: auctions (where the provided information 
relates to the common value of the auctioned item) and cooperative 
information gathering (where costly information is shared between the 
agents). For the first, I'll show that with the information provider in 
the market, in conflict with classic auction theory, the auctioneer may 
prefer to limit the number of bidders that participate in the auction 
and similarly bidders may prefer to have greater competition. Also, 
bidders' unawareness of the auctioneer's option to purchase the 
information does not necessarily play into the hands of the auctioneer 
and, similarly, bidders may sometimes benefit from not knowing that the 
auctioneer has the option to purchase such information. For cooperative 
information gathering I'll present three methods for improving overall 
and individual performance, all based on limiting and constraining 
information sharing. Along the talk we will also answer questions such 
as: why bars use dim lights and loud music; ways that charities could 
benefit from group buying; and why it makes sense to pay someone to 
over-price information she wants to sell you.


David Sarne is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science 
at Bar-Ilan University. He is also the head of the Intelligent 
Information Agents (IIA) group. He joined Bar-Ilan in Oct. 2007; before 
this he was a Post-Doc at Harvard University for two years, following 
several years in the Israeli hi-tech industry. He holds a B.Sc. in 
Industrial Engineering and an M.Sc. in Information Systems (both from 
Tel-Aviv University) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Bar-Ilan 


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