Stanford Networking Seminar

12:15PM, Thursday March 1st, 2012
Gates 104

Carrots are Better than Sticks : Incentives Mechanisms for Societal Networks

Balaji Prabhakar
Stanford University

About the talk:
  • Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
  • Why does glue not stick to the inside of the bottle?
  • Why is lemonade made with artificial flavor but dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • How can I avoid traffic jams and be paid for it?
While the first three are some of life's enduring questions, the fourth is the subject of traffic decongestion projects at Stanford University and in Singapore's public transit system. In this talk, we will briefly describe these projects and, more generally, discuss incentive mechanisms for "Societal Networks"; e.g., transportation, energy, healthcare and waste management networks. Some salient themes are the use of low-cost sensing technology to make Societal Networks much more efficient and the use incentives to co-ordinate individual behavior.

About the speaker:
Balaji Prabhakar is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University. His research interests are in computer networks; notably, in designing algorithms for the Internet and for Data Centers. He has helped to define the IEEE 802.1Qau Congestion Notification standard as part of the IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging Task Group. Recently, he has been working on Societal Networks: networks vital for society's functioning, such as transportation, healthcare, electricity and recycling systems. He is interested in developing and deploying incentive mechanisms and technological platforms for Societal Networks. He has been a Terman Fellow at Stanford University, a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Fellow of the IEEE. He has received the CAREER award from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Erlang Prize from the INFORMS Applied Probability Society, the Rollo Davidson Prize from the University of Cambridge, and delivered the Lunteren Lectures. He is a co-recipient of several best paper awards.