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[theory-seminar] [Theory Seminar] [cstheory-special] Motwani CS Theory Colloquium: Jon Kleinberg (April 7)

Tim Roughgarden tim at
Thu Apr 7 12:10:50 PDT 2016

Reminder: this is today at 4:15 (Huang 300).

On Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 12:20 PM, Tim Roughgarden <tim at> wrote:
> The next Rajeev Motwani Distinguished Lecture will be given
> Thursday, April 7th, by Jon Kleinberg from Cornell University.
> Jon always gives entertaining and broadly accessible talks; you should
> definitely attend if you can.
> Motwani Distinguished Lectures are a roughly quarterly series of theory
> colloquia aimed at a relatively broad audience.  See
> for details.
> The talk is at 4:15 PM on April 7th in the Mackenzie Room (Huang
> Engineering Center, Room 300,
> There will be a reception with refreshments (wine, cheese, etc.) immediately
> following the talk.
> Hope to see you there!
> Tim
> ---
> Title: Planning Problems for Agents with Behavioral Biases
> Abstract: There are many settings where people set long-range goals
> and make plans to achieve them. Such long-range planning is becoming
> an integral part of the experience in many on-line contexts, where for
> example people work toward reputational milestones in
> question-answering sites, build up to administrative roles in
> open-source authoring domains, and reach educational goals in on-line
> learning communities.
> To understand these kinds of processes, we need to enrich our models
> with the types of human behavioral biases that come into play when
> people attempt to reach long-range goals --- particularly, the
> tendency toward present bias, in which costs and benefits incurred in
> the present receive particular weight. We propose a graph-theoretic
> model for the process of planning with present bias, and show how this
> model directly produces a wide range of qualitative phenomena observed
> in the literature on present-biased behavior, including
> procrastination, abandonment of long-range tasks, and the benefits of
> reduced sets of choices. We then explore a set of analyses that
> quantify over the set of all graphs; among other results, we provide
> bounds on the cost incurred by a present-biased agent relative to the
> optimal plan, and we show that any instance in which this cost
> significantly exceeds the optimum must contain -- in a precise
> graph-theoretic sense -- a large ``procrastination'' structure.
> This talk is based on joint work with Sigal Oren and Manish Raghavan.
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