Rising Stars 2020:

Kira Goldner

Postdoctoral Researcher

Columbia University

PhD '19 University of Washington

Areas of Interest

  • Theory
  • Social Good
  • Algorithmic Game Theory


Mechanism Design for Social Good


Today, it is becoming increasingly salient that algorithms are robust to strategic behavior -- we call such algorithms "mechanisms". My work applies insights and mathematical tools from algorithmic mechanism design to develop the foundations of "mechanism design for social good." I'll discuss my work applying central tools from foundational mechanism design to solve problems in health insurance markets, climate change, and online labor markets. I will also discuss the founding of an interdisciplinary research community that has grown into over 2300 researchers today.


Kira Goldner is a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University hosted by Tim Roughgarden in the Computer Science department. Specifically, she is an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Data Science Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research is in algorithmic mechanism design: designing algorithms that guarantee that, even when the data that they run on is produced by strategic individuals who act in their own self-interest, the designer's objectives are achieved. Kira’s work focuses on using her background in the foundations of mechanism design to apply it to societal problems e.g. in healthcare, climate change, and privacy. As part of this agenda, Kira co-founded Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG), an interdisciplinary initiative working to improve access to opportunity for historically disadvantaged communities. She received her PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington under the advisement of Anna Karlin, during which she was supported by a 2017-19 Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship and a 2016-17 Google Anita Borg Scholarship. She has received many awards for her work, including the EC 2019 Best Paper with a Student Lead Author Award and the EC 2020 Best Presentation by a Student or Postdoctoral Researcher Award.

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