Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG '20)

4th Workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good


August 17, 2020 to August 19, 2020
7:00am to 2:00pm
Virtual Participation


The fourth workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG '20) will be held online on August 17-19, 2020. The goal of the workshop is to highlight work where techniques from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design, along with insights from other disciplines, have the potential to improve access to opportunity for historically underserved and marginalized communities. The workshop will feature keynote presentations, contributed talks, problem pitches and demos, a poster session, and a panel discussion, with a focus on bridging research and policy. To this end, participants will include researchers as well as practitioners in various government and non-government organizations and industry.


PROGRAM  |  Schedule  |  Invited Speakers

Keynote Speakers and Panelists:

  • Natalia Ariza Ramírez, National University of Colombia and former Vice Minister of Education in Colombia (and currently a Visiting Scholar with UC Berkeley's Center for Latin American Studies) 
  • José R. Correa, Professor at Universidad de Chile
  • Stephanie Dinkins, Associate Professor at Stony Brook University
  • Deborah Estrin, Associate Dean for Impact at Cornell Tech
  • Nicole Immorlica, Microsoft Research
  • Rafael Obregón, UNICEF Paraguay
  • Anjana Rajan, Chief Technology Officer at Polaris

Oral presentations 

  • Modeling Assumptions Clash with the Real World: Configuring Student Assignment Algorithms to Serve Community Needs. Samantha Robertson (EECS, UC Berkeley), Tonya Nguyen and Niloufar Salehi (I School, UC Berkeley)
  • The Gender Panopticon: AI, Gender, and Design Justice. Sonia Katyal (Berkeley Center for Law & Technology)
  • Food Assistance Take-Up and Infant Health: Evidence from the Adoption of EBT. Leah Shiferaw (Economics, UC Berkeley)
  • Socioeconomic Network Heterogeneity and Pandemic Policy Response. Mohammad Akbarpour, Cody Cook, Aude Marzuoli, Simon Mongey, Abhishek Nagaraj (Berkeley Haas), Matteo Saccarola, Pietro Tebaldi, Shoshana Vasserman and Hanbin Yang
  • Privacy as Privilege. Rebecca Wexler (Berkeley Law)
  • Outside Options, Bargaining, and Wages: Evidence from Coworker Networks. Sydnee Caldwell (Berkeley Haas) and Nikolaj Harmon
  • Top Percent Policies and the Return to Postsecondary Selectivity. Zachary Bleemer (Economics, UC Berkeley)

Poster presentations

  • Proposing Safeguards for Governmentally-Regulated Risk-Assessment Mechanisms. Sritej Attaluri (Computer Science, UC Berkeley) and Sarah Scheffler
  • Hard Choices in Artificial Intelligence. Roel Dobbe, Thomas Krendl Gilbert (Machine Ethics and Epistemology, UC Berkeley) and Yonatan Mintz
  • Optimization Hierarchy for Fair Statistical Decision Problems. Anil Aswani (IEOR, UC Berkeley) and Matt Olfa
  • Targeting Humanitarian Response with Machine Learning and Mobile Phone Data. Emily Aiken (I School, UC Berkeley), Guadalupe Bedoya, Aidan Coville and Joshua Blumenstock (I School, UC Berkeley)
  • Approximately optimal solutions for multiple fairness metrics: A case study. Gireeja Ranade (EECS, UC Berkeley), Swati Gupta, Akhil Jalan, Helen Yang and Simon Zhuang
  • Robust Optimization for Fairness with Noisy Protected Groups. Serena Wang (Computer Science, UC Berkeley), Wenshuo Guo (EECS, UC Berkeley), Harikrishna Narasimhan, Andrew Cotter, Maya Gupta and Michael Jordan (EECS, UC Berkeley)
  • Queueing Versus Surge Pricing Mechanism: Efficiency, Equity, and Consumer Welfare. Yueyang Zhong, Zhixi Wan and Zuo-Jun (Max) Shen (IEOR, UC Berkeley)


  • Faidra Monachou, Stanford University
  • Francisco Marmolejo-Cossío, University of Oxford

Steering Committee

  • Rediet Abebe, Harvard University (and an incoming Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley EECS)
  • Kira Goldner, Columbia University
  • Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University
  • Illenin Kondo, University of Notre-Dame
  • Sera Linardi, University of Pittsburgh
  • Irene Lo, Stanford University
  • Ana-Andreea Stoica, Columbia University


For more information, please contact the organizers Francisco J. Marmolejo Cossio ( and Faidra Monachou (


Rediet Abebe

Assistant Professor, Computer Science, UC Berkeley

Rediet Abebe is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Junior Fellow (2019-22) at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Abebe holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University and graduate degrees in mathematics from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. Her research is in artificial intelligence and algorithms, with a focus on equity and justice concerns. Abebe is a co-founder and co-organizer of the multi-institutional, interdisciplinary research initiative Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG). Her dissertation, Designing Algorithms for Social Good, received the 2020 ACM SIGKDD Dissertation Award and an honorable mention for the ACM SIGEcom Dissertation Award for offering the foundations of this emerging research area. Abebe's work has informed policy and practice at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. She has been honored in the MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35 list as a pioneer and the Bloomberg 50 list as a one to watch. Her work has been featured in BBC, ELLE, Forbes, and Shondaland and presented at venues including the National Academy of Sciences, United Nations, and Museum of Modern Art. Abebe also co-founded Black in AI, a non-profit organization tackling representation and equity issues in AI. Her research is influenced by her upbringing in her hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.