Hartline Named 2021 Economic Theory Fellow

SAET recognizes substantial contributions to the field of economic theory.

Northwestern Engineering’s Jason Hartline has been named a Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET) 2021 Economic Theory Fellow.

Jason HartlineHartline is a professor of computer science and, by courtesy, professor of managerial economics and decision sciences in Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and professor of economics at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

SAET Fellows substantially advance the field of economic theory and are selected based on scientific excellence, originality, and leadership; high ethical standards; and scholarly and creative achievement.

“It is really fantastic that work by computer scientists in the interface between computer science and economics is being recognized within mainstream economic theory,” said Hartline. “The other computer scientists who have been similarly recognized — Michael Kearns at the University of Pennsylvania, Nimrod Megiddo at IBM Almaden, Noam Nisan at Hebrew University, Christos Papadimitriou and Tim Roughgarden at Columbia University, and Moshe Tennenholtz at Technion — are all distinguished pioneers of the field.”

Hartline applies design and analysis methodologies from computer science to explain and improve the behavior and outcomes of complex economic systems.

In his graduate textbook Mechanism Design and Approximation, Hartline introduces the theory of approximation to auction theory and mechanism design. The approach quantifies the tradeoff between optimal outcomes and other desirable properties such as simplicity, robustness, computational tractability, and practicality.

“Professor Hartline is a leader in his field of mechanism design. This award, coming on the heels of his recent SIGEcom test of time award, is a testament to the amazing respect he commands in computer science and economics and how the two fields have co-evolved,” said Samir Khuller, Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering. “Northwestern CS is the best place to do interdisciplinary research like this. I am really proud to call him my colleague and friend.”

The SAET Fellowship Committee considers nominees’ publication record, editorial board service, graduate student training, and honorary, scientific, educational, and professional accomplishments.

“I think models and methods of analysis from computer science have a tremendous potential for impact in economics and that we have only just started to see this potential be realized,” Hartline said.

Hartline is a co-director of the Institute for Data, Econometrics, Algorithms, and Learning (IDEAL), a team of interdisciplinary investigators at Northwestern, Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, and the University of Chicago that studies the theoretical foundations related to high dimensional data analysis, data science in strategic environments, and machine learning and optimization.

He also co-organizes the Northwestern CS Theory Group Quarterly Theory Workshop series and the Northwestern CS+Economics Quarterly Workshop.

Hartline is an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Theory and the president and cofounder of Virtual Chair Inc., a virtual conference organizing platform.

Founded in 1991, SAET’s mission is to advance knowledge in theoretical economics and to facilitate communication among researchers in economics, mathematics, game theory, and other fields. The organization publishes the journals Economic Theory and the Economic Theory Bulletin.

McCormick News Article