To create a truly sustainable world, we need to both generate ample amounts of resources and allocate them appropriately to those that value them highly. In traditional economics, these goals are achieved using money. People are paid to produce valuable resources. Resources are sold at an appropriately high price, guaranteeing that the buyers had high value for them. However, in many settings of particular social significance, monetary transactions are infeasible. Sometimes this is because society has deemed it immoral to sell certain things, like seats at public schools or organs for transplantation. Other times it is because of technological constraints, like when the environment is electronic and there are no banks linked to user accounts.
Nicole’s research lies broadly within the field of algorithmic game theory. Using tools and modeling concepts from both theoretical computer science and economics, Nicole hopes to explain, predict, and shape behavioral patterns in various online and offline systems, markets, and games. Her areas of specialty include social networks and mechanism design. Nicole received her Ph.D. from MIT in Cambridge, MA in 2005 and then completed three years of postdocs at both Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA and CWI in Amsterdam, Netherlands before accepting a job as an assistant professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL in 2008. She joined the Microsoft Research New England Lab in 2012.