Long Program

Distributed Solutions to Complex Societal Problems

Distributed Solutions to Complex Societal Problems

Fall 2021 Long Program

September 20-December 17, 2021


The need to understand and model large populations of rational agents interacting through intricate networks of connections is ubiquitous in modern science. Problems along these lines arise in settings such as the economy, global conflicts, and the spread of diseases, and they raise consequential regulatory issues. Population control, crowd analysis, smart cities, and self-driving vehicles present problems of a similar nature that are often tackled with tools from machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, in spite of spectacular successes, the lack of a deep understanding of how robots and human beings learn to navigate their environments and make forward looking decisions remains a major impediment to systematic progress, and the debate on the relative merits of centralized versus decentralized intelligence remains very much alive.

The theory of Mean Field Games (MFG) is an important mathematical framework that contributes to the understanding of such problems. It provides an approach to studying models in which a large number of agents interact strategically in a stochastically evolving environment, all responding to various shocks and incentives, and all trying to simultaneously forecast the decisions of others. A short program Introduction to Mean Field Games and Applications will take place in June 2021 and serve as an introduction to this program.

The mathematical paradigm of MFG offers a powerful approach to the study of a number of challenging problems in social economics. It leads to a set of effective equations capturing the equilibrium behavior of large populations of interacting agents, often in situations which were believed to be intractable not so long ago. Many of the early successes of MFG were in engineering, but a second generation of applications will have broader impact and lead to better regulations, policies, and approaches to conflict resolution.

This program will bring to the fore mathematical advances in the theory and bring them to bear on applications where Mean Field Games can make a difference. It will facilitate an extensive interaction between mathematicians, statisticians, and applied scientists to advance the theory and better understand the applications.

In order to apply for this program, you must first register for an account and then login. Refreshing this page should then bring up the application form. Note that, due to requirements related to our NSF grant, you will only be able to apply for funding to attend if you have linked an ORCID® iD to your account. You will have an opportunity to create (if necessary) and connect an ORCID iD to your account once you’ve registered.