Microsoft Research theme: Economics and Computation

Economics and Computation

Economics and computation is an interdisciplinary field consisting of economists and computer scientists. Economists and computational social scientists have developed a rich and deep theory of individual behavior. Their models shed light on the design of optimal rules governing economic interaction under incentive constraints. Their empirical methodologies allow us to rigorously test the theories and refine the deployed methods. Computer scientists, in turn, have developed a theory of computational thinking, driven by algorithms and complexity. This group works at the intersection of these two fields. Economics informs what outcomes algorithms can compute in the presence of self-motivated individuals. Computer science offers a theory of complexity and approximation, thereby both imposing realistic constraints on the space of solutions and relaxing the metric by which we judge them. Together, these interdisciplinary researchers can design and build markets and platforms with robust and socially desirable properties.