Oportunidade: Online Social Choice and Welfare Seminar

Vejam que interessante este seminário online:

Dear participants of the Online Social Choice and Welfare Seminar,

Our next seminar will be next Tuesday (1 November).  Here are the details.

Time:  2PM GMT (10AM New York, 11AM Rio de Janeiro, 2PM Edinburgh, 3PM Paris, 5PM Istanbul, 7:30PM New Delhi, 11PM Seoul/Tokyo)

Speaker:  Murdoch James Gabbay (Heriot-Watt University)

Title:   “The semitopology of heterogeneous consensus

Abstract.  Arriving at consensus is an old problem, to which blockchain systems add some particularities:
performance is at a premium,
the environment may be highly adversarial — and perhaps most significantly,
the system may be permissionless (any agent can join the network at any time) and heterogeneous (different parts of the network may have different computational power, connectivity, latency, and so forth).

We can make sense of this using the language of topology: a point is a participant, and an open set is a local quorum.  A quorum that reaches agreement may progress locally.  This has good performance: the system doesn’t need to synchronise or reach a global majority to progress.  It is also resilient: local adversarial behaviour may corrupt a local quorum, but the rest of the space may continue to operate.

Such a system is up and running in the Stellar payments network, and can be viewed here: <https://stellarbeat.io/>

The intersection of two quorums is not necessarily a quorum, so in fact we get a new notion of semitopology, which is like a topology but without the condition that intersections of open sets are open.  Semitopologies, like topologies, have rich mathematical structure, with explanatory power which includes the emergence of a kind of “Dictator set” — a subset of privileged participants that determine behaviour which is mathematically guaranteed to exist for any network.

What seems to be emerging is a kind of topological voting theory, with its own version of Arrow’s theorem and various other properties that we are still trying to make sense of.  Applications are to Stellar as currently implemented, and we see further applications in the design of blockchain governance, and specifically for DAOs (distributed autonomous organisations).

I hope that bringing this material to the attention of a social choice audience may lead to a fruitful exchange of ideas and insights, which might inform the new generation of permissionless systems emerging in the blockchain space and help them to be fair and humane, as well as efficient and resilient.
Working paper available here.

Reminder: On the seminar website you can find the video recordings, slides and supplementary materials for all past presentations, as well as information about future presentations.

Marcus Pivato
THEMA, CY Cergy Paris Université


About Mauricio Bugarin

Mauricio Soares Bugarin is full professor at the Economics Department of the University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and is currently Leader of the Economics and Politics Research Group (CNPq-UnB). From 2006 to 2011 he was full professor of Economics at Insper Institute, São Paulo, Brazil, where he served as the director of undergraduate studies in Economics and created the joint degree program in Economics and Business Administration. Prof. Bugarin is a research fellow of the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) and served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Latin American Chapter of the Econometric Society from 2007 to 2011. He has produced numerous research articles published in peer reviewed journals, including the Journal of Mathematical Economics, Oxford Academic Papers, Public Choice, and Social Choice and Welfare; a book on the control of public expenditure in Brazil published by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation; several academic book chapters; and has received several academic prizes including Brazilian National Treasure Secretariat Prizes (Public Finance), a National Health Economics Prize, and the Haralambos Simeonides Prize for the best article in Economics published in a year by a Brazilian author. Prof. Bugarin’s main interests include public economics, public finance and the relationship between economics and politics. He regularly teaches PhD courses in game theory and mechanism design, the economics of incentives and information and positive political economics.
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