Conitzer, a member of the Artificial Intelligence faculty in Computer Science with a secondary appointment in Economics, joined Duke as an assistant professor in 2006. The 32-year-old grew up in Amsterdam and completed his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University.
“A direct promotion from assistant professor to full professor is highly unusual,” Computer Science Chairman Carlo Tomasi noted. “I think this recognition of Vincent’s talents is fully deserved. Even at this early stage in his career, he has had great impact in his field. In just a little more than four years, he has authored over 100 research articles that have appeared in highly selective conferences and journals, an astonishing accomplishment.”
Conitzer’s research focuses on computational aspects of microeconomics — in particular, game theory (finding the best way to act strategically in a given situation); mechanism design (computing the environment or rules for a game); and social choice (examining mechanisms, such as voting rules, that would allow for a good joint decision when all parties do not agree on the best decision).
He is working now with Duke graduate students Josh Letchford and Dima Korzhyk on security applications, particularly algorithm questions behind the security. A game theory paper he co-authored in 2006, “Computing the Optimal Strategy to Commit To,” inspired the original application for random security checkpoints created by a group from the University of Southern California for Los Angeles International Airport. Conitzer also is working with graduating PhD student Lirong Xia on optimal mechanisms for voting on multiple issues at the same time.
The winner of numerous awards — including the 2011 Computers and Thought Award, a prestigious award given biennially by the International Joint Conferences in Artificial Intelligence to outstanding young researchers in the field, and the 2011 designation by IEEE Intelligent Systems as one of AI’s Ten to Watch — says he enjoys many aspects of working at Duke. “The main thing is just the people,” he said, “and being able to work with such talented students and colleagues.”