09.12.2020

Algorithms developed by AGH UST researcher will help make optimal choices: another ERC grant


Professor Piotr Faliszewski of AGH UST has won the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant awarded by the European Research Council. The AGH UST scientist will further investigate computational social choice theory. The project outcomes will find their use in many areas of life connected with making necessary choices – from small local community elections to business to sports competitions.

Electoral system research is the domain Professor Piotr Faliszewski has been developing for over 15 years, initially during his doctoral studies at the University of Rochester, and then – for over a decade – at the Department of Computer Science, part of the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications (WIEiT). The outcomes of the project will be applied in areas where making choices is necessary: starting from the choice of finalists in a competition, e.g. selection of films nominated for the Academy Award to the choice of candidates for a vacancy to the election of representatives of a given community (e.g. University electors) to making decisions regarding the choice of projects to receive financing under the civic budget scheme.

While the committee selection theory has seen dynamic development and has led to some interesting mathematical results, the implementation of its conclusions is much more challenging. Practical applications are frequently only provisional, not necessarily well matched to the nature of the problem and needs, thus potentially resulting in not-so-fair outcomes. This is due to the fact that the existing theory is quite abstract and the discrepancy between mathematical results and practical needs is substantial.

”Working on the project we will try to relate theory to practical applications. This will include in particular searching for effective algorithms that will allow making decisions as to which candidates, contestants or civic projects should be selected in a manner that will be seen as fair and transparent by voters” – explains the winner of the award, Professor Piotr Faliszewski.

The winning project provides for the creation and development of mechanisms for decision-making in specific domains: local institutions, sport, culture or internet searches, etc. Professor Faliszewski plans to develop algorithms that will allow the decision-making rules to be put into practice.

Professor Jerzy Lis, AGH UST Rector, said:
”I am very proud of our young academic staff. This is already the second ERC grant that has been awarded to our scientists this year. Professor Piotr Faliszewski is pursuing an extremely demanding, yet practically rewarding and useful discipline derived from mathematics, whose practical applications include economics, business, computer science and decisions taken in the course of our daily lives as well as those made by institutions or decision-making teams. I am convinced that the support awarded by the European Research Council will soon bring remarkable results translating into the development of Polish science – also internationally.

Consolidator Grant ERC is awarded to outstanding researchers representing any scientific discipline with at least 7 years’ research record following the conferment of a PhD degree. This year’s edition will provide funding for 327 projects from 23 European countries to the total amount of EUR 655m. ERC has awarded nearly EUR 1.4m to the project Professor Piotr Faliszewski will run for a period of 5 years. The project team to be appointed in the upcoming months will consist mainly of AGH UST PhD candidates and students. Other Polish winners of this year’s edition of Consolidator grants, apart from Professor Faliszewski, are dr Sebastian Glatt of Jagiellonian University and Professor Justyna Olko of the University of Warsaw.

We should note in this place that Professor Piotr Faliszewski has recently been ranked as one of the world’s most-cited scientists. The prestigious list of scientists with the highest number of citations (science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators) contains the names of 2% best scientists whose publications have been most frequently cited by other authors. In addition, Professor Piotr Faliszewski has won Research Excellence Award (technical sciences) funded by the POLITYKA Weekly, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award granted by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as a winner of the POWROTY/HOMING programme funded by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP).