DeCenter Seminar: Transparency and Security via Algorithmic Economics

April 11, 2023 10:30 am

Computer Science Building, 105

Speaker: Matheus Venturyne Xavier Ferreira, Harvard University

Traditionally one assumes a regulator (or potential future consumers) would punish a platform for deviating from its promised specification. However, this is not always possible, even with publicly available data. For example, auctions are the main building block of how we transact on eBay or how Google sells advertising; however, it is impossible to know whether or not a self-interested auctioneer is also bidding in their auction with a fake identity. In this light, algorithmic economics provides a new perspective on designing secure systems because, in many real-world applications, adversaries are not intentionally malicious but rather rational and economically driven. First, I will overview the challenges of designing Internet auctions when auctioneers are not trusted and show a cryptographic auction that overcomes known impossibility results from economic theory. Beyond auctions, distributed systems like blockchains aim to enable more transparent platforms. In the second part, I will overview my contributions toward the design of incentive-compatible sustainable blockchains and show applications to the design of more transparent and secure platforms.

Matheus Venturyne Xavier Ferreira is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Computer Science at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. (2022) and a MA (2018) in Computer Science from Princeton University and a BS in Computer Engineering (2016) from the Federal University of Itajubá. His primary research interests are in security, algorithmic economics, and cryptography. His honors include a CNS Prize for Excellence in Networking from UC, San Diego (2014), a Dean’s Grand from Princeton Graduate School (2016-2021), a LATinE Fellowship (2020) from Purdue College of Engineering, and an Award for Excellence from Princeton School of Engineering (2020). Matheus is from Itabira, which is known as the Brazilian capital of poetry.