On Monday, December 19, 2022, Dean Prof. Dr. Peter Schreier welcomed the audience to the last inaugural lecture of the Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics this year. Junior professor Dr. Gleb Polevoy introduced himself to the plenum in lecture hall O1 with his lecture "Fair, individually rational and cheap adjustment". Already in 2020, Dr. Polevoy was appointed to the juniorprofessorship "Algorithmic Game Theory" at the Paderborn University. Originally from Ukraine, he moved to Israel and completed his bachelor's and master's studies at the Technion (IIT). He then completed his PhD at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands from 2012, where he defended his dissertation in December 2016. After that, he was a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam, where he received a fellowship that allowed him to also work for a year at the University of Warsaw in Poland.
In his talk, Junior Professor Polevoy explained that in many practical tasks can be modeled and studied through game-theoretic approaches, one would like to encourage certain behaviour. For instance, the municipality may prefer parents to register their children to the nearest school. By adjusting fees and subsidies, a planning entity can make the players behave in a certain way, that is, follow a desired game strategy. Mr. Polevoy showed that by making appropriate adjustments to fees and subsidies, the desired strategies become strictly dominant. Inspired primarily by a work of Monderer and Tennenholz from 2004, in which the promised subsidies are not realized in the chosen gaming strategies, he presents a fair and individually rational adjustment. Here, the total cost to the planner is zero, regardless of the game strategy chosen. This allows the proposed adjustments to be made easily and frequently, even if some players behave irrationally. The desired game strategy itself does not need to be adjusted. Mr. Polevoy can also prove that, among all possible adjustments, his proposed adjustment minimizes the sum of all the fees and subsidies. Finally, he also manages scenarios in which the planner does not have complete information, or possess infinitely many strategy choices.
In the future, Dr. Polevoy will expand his research to include mechanism design and more realistic modelling of human behaviour. "I like understanding people through mathematics. An important advantage of game theory is predicting what people will do based on some experimental data, and maybe even suggesting improvements.