Upcoming speakers 

Algorithmic Economics:  How Computer Science Lets Us Put Economic Theory to Work

Vincent Conitzer
Sally Dalton Robinson Professor of Computer Science, Duke University

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social Sciences Building, room 136

How should we act strategically in the presence of others?  How should we design efficient markets?  Economic theory provides elegant answers to such questions.  However, even economists themselves often see these answers just as idealizations from which to draw some intuition.  In practice, it is generally thought, it would not be feasible to gather all the information that the theory requires, let alone to perform the needed computations on these data.  But this view is rapidly becoming outdated.  Professor Conitzer will discuss several examples where computer scientists and economists have joined forces to build markets driven by algorithms and data, such as online ad auctions and kidney exchanges.  He will then focus on algorithms that are now used to strategically schedule, among others, checkpoints at LAX and Federal Air Marshals on flights, based on game theory.

AI: In and Out of Jeopardy

David Ferrucci
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
4:00-5:30 p.m.
217 Perkins Library

What does it take to beat the highest-ranked Jeopardy champions of all time with a computer? Dr. Ferrucci will shed light on how he, as lead researcher, took on the Jeopardy Challenge.  What bold research, engineering and management steps did it take to create Watson and scale it to answer rich natural language questions with precision and accurate confidence in just seconds?   Now considered a landmark in AI, Watson delivered amazing results that out-performed all expectations. It did this by combining many different AI methods. But perhaps most importantly, Watson helped change the perception and the role of AI and of computers in business forever.

Prior speakers  

Duolingo: Learn a Language for Free While Helping to Translate the Web
Luis von Ahn
A. Nico Habermann Associate Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
4:00-5:30 p.m.
217 Perkins Library
Professor von Ahn wants to translate the Web into every major language: every webpage, every video, and, yes, even Justin Bieber’s tweets.  With its content split up into hundreds of languages,  most of the Web is inaccessible to most people in the world. This problem is pressing with millions of people from quickly developing regions entering the Web. In this talk, Professor von Ahn will introduce his new project, called Duolingo, which aims at breaking this language barrier, and thus making the Web truly “world wide.”

The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone
Daphne Koller
Rajeev Motwani Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University; Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Coursera
Monday, October 1, 2012
4:00-5:30 p.m.
0014 Westbrook Building, Divinity School
Coursera ( is a newly founded social entrepreneurship company whose mission is to make high-quality education accessible to everyone by allowing the best universities to offer courses to people around the world, for free.  Professor Koller will discuss this far-reaching experiment in education, and why they believe this model can provide both an improved classroom experience for on-campus students, as well as a meaningful learning experience for the millions of students around the world who would otherwise never have access to education of this quality.

Technologies for a Mobile Society
Sebastian Thrun
CEO of Udacity ( and Research Professor at Stanford University and Google Fellow

Thursday, October 4, 2012
5:00-6:30 p.m.
0016 Westbrook Building, Divinity School