Roth at Harvard & Shapley at UCLA won 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics

Tuesday, 16 October, 2012

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced earlier today that the 2012 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel will divided equally between Alvin E. Roth (Harvard University) and Lloyd S. Shapley (UCLA) “for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design“.

Roth was interviewed over the phone immediately by the Nobel foundation following the announcement. The audio interview, hearing the answers in the words and tone of the Nobel Laureate  is always interesting fascinating. Here is a brief insightful exchange excerpt from the interview transcript that explains what the this year’s winners won for,

AG [Allegra Grevelius, from, the Nobel Prize website]: I understand. Many of’s visitors are high school students. How would you explain your prize awarded work in layman’s terms?

AR [Alvin E. Roth]: Well, my prize is about matching and matching is the work that the economy does when deciding for instance which students go to which schools. If they have a choice so high school students in some cities get matched through a choice system where they submit preferences and the schools have requirements perhaps preferences also. And some decisions are made who goes where. And that’s what matching is about. It’s about who gets what. And um, we try to, in the school choice, we try to make it happen in a way that is sufficient but doesn’t, but doesn’t send people to schools they would rather swap with other people if the schools would allow them. Um, and if your students are in high school, they are going to go through many matching markets in their lives. They’re going to get married, they’re going to get jobs, and so, they can think about us then.

AG: Yes, it is very interesting. So your work has a lot of practical applications in our lives, school applications, maybe matching kidney donors and receivers. Are you driven as an economist by these questions by applying your theories to real life?AR: Yes, economics is about real life, so I’m very interested in that.


AG: Yeah, indeed. As a young person, what inspired you to be an economist?

AR: Well, I didn’t become an economist until rather late in life. My PhD is operational research. I was interested in making things work better and using mathematics to help do that. So operational research is what I studied as an undergraduate and graduate student. The kinds of things that I found myself interested in, trying to understand and trying to make things work better were things that involved people and that meant economics.

Cross posted by me at

Dr. Michael J. Burry at UCLA Economics Commencement 2012

Monday, 25 June, 2012

Dr. Michael J. Burry at UCLA Economics Commencement 2012 - pix

Some (including the US Federal Reserve) likes to claim nobody could have seen the 2008 financial collapse coming. Meet Dr. Michael Burry. I am watching him this morning. [HT Greg]

Dr. Michael J. Burry at UCLA Economics Commencement 2012

Terence Tao (陶哲軒) – Fields Medalist

Saturday, 20 February, 2010

Don’t ask me why but I find it fun to follow advanced mathematics and computer researches (almost and very often beyond my limit of understanding). I find some enjoyment in learning about some of these advanced stuff.

Anyway, the following is an old-ish 2007 UCLA presentation “Structure and Randomness in the Prime Numbers” by Terence Tao (Fields Medalist) was interesting to watch. In particular, starting at time code 38:05, Terence started to talk about Green-Tao Theorem (2004).

I actually laughed quite hard, in a good way, at the 42:22 point, when Terence mentioned the guaranteed upper bound of 2**2**2**2**2**2**2**100k. Establishing an upper bound beats infinity. :)

You can download and read his latest blog book “An epsilon of room: pages from year three of a mathematical blog” (PDF). And I’ve subscribed to Terry’s blog to read more about his “research and expository papers, discussion of open problems, and other maths-related topics”.

The video “Math Prodigy Terence Tao” is a lot of fun to watch, even, lets be honest, it looks and smells like is an UCLA Math department informercial. :)

P.S. With a bit of research, I just realized that I wrote about another Fields Medalist Grigori Perelman in 2006 in the blog entry “Will he take that million dollars?”. Yes, I guess I pay attention to advanced mathematics. :)

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