Cast IT

Tim Roughgarden: The Price of Anarchy

Tim Roughgarden is professor in the Computer Science and Management Science and Engineering Departments at Stanford University. He is also a very active science communicator, hosting a popular algorithms course on the Coursera online learning platform. 

Among many recognitions, Tim has received the Gödel Prize for his research in computational game theory, a field that resides in the intersection of two disciplines: economics and computer science. We talk to Tim about one of the central insights of that work: the Prize of Anarchy, which quantifies the loss in efficiency of a system due to selfish behaviour of its agents.

We also look at applications of game-theoretic algorithms in the real world, when Tim explains the role that computer science played in designing the 2016 “incentive auction” used to by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to buy and sell broadcast airwaves.