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Claire Mathieu: College Admission Algorithms in the Real World

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Claire Mathieu is a leading researcher in algorithms design and director of research at Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, France.) Claire has been involved in the 2018 redesign of the college admission procedure in France, where close to a million students apply for more than ten thousand different college programmes. At the root of the procedure is the famous and widely used Stable Marriage method of Gale and Shapley (1962), a result that was recognised with the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Claire explains to us the basic algorithmic ideas, but also the many challenging details that must be addressed when an otherwise clean and well-understood procedure is implemented to tackle a real-world scenario. Many domain-specific peculiarities arise, such as social, cultural, political, administrative, and legal issues, which are themselves often ill-defined and frequently conflicting.

The episode was recorded on 20 August 2018, during the European Symposium of Algorithms 2018, hosted by Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.