Cai Wins Test of Time Award at FOCS 2022

Departments: Computer Science

Yang Cai, associate professor of computer science and economics, won the Test of Time Award at the 63rd Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS 2022) for his 2012 paper, "Optimal Multi-dimensional Mechanism Design: Reducing Revenue to Welfare Maximization."

The FOCS Test of Time Award recognizes papers published in past Annual IEEE Symposia on Foundations of Computer Science for their substantial, lasting, broad, and currently relevant impact.

The paper, written with Constantinos Daskalakis and S. Matthew Weinberg, presents a general reduction that converts a large class of revenue maximization problems in multidimensional mechanism design to a class of welfare maximization problems in the general framework of the Vickrey-Clarke-Groves (VCG) mechanism in the Bayesian setting. The VCG mechanism is incentive compatible, so the transformation takes care of all the incentive and pricing issues hence freeing the designer from handling these issues allowing them to focus on the algorithmic problem of solving the resulting optimization problem. The methods introduced in this paper provide a crucial bridge between two areas of economic mechanism design, and play an important role in the modern treatment of algorithmic methods in mechanism design.

Cai joined the Yale faculty in 2019 and his research interests lie in theoretical computer science and its interface with economics, probability, learning and statistics. He has been previously awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the William Dawson Scholarship, and the Simons-Berkeley Research Fellowship. His dissertation has been recognized by the George M. Sprowls Award (for best MIT doctoral theses in CS) and the SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Award.