George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor
The sheer variety and scope of experimentation in the networked economy are a treasure trove of insight for Rakesh Vohra. An economist and systems engineer, Vohra pioneers new ways to design effective markets for diverse purposes such as the power grid, online advertising, wireless spectrum access, and the allocation of donor kidneys. Innovation of this type at the intersection of engineering and the social sciences, using vast data sets, inspires Vohra’s research and his presence on campus as a catalyst for collaboration.
As he investigates ways to structure diverse markets with meaningful incentives, Vohra develops new methods to insure against unpredictable risks and resolve technological constraints. He is best known for his work on forecasting in low informational environments and his many contributions to the economic field of mechanism design. Vohra publishes in Econometrica, Biometrika, Journal of Computer and System Sciences, Mathematics of Operations Research and Mathematical Programming. He has written three books about pricing, mechanism design, and mathematical economics.
Vohra joined Penn’s faculty in 2013 to co-direct Penn’s then-new Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, a hub for research and innovation in interconnected social, economic, and technological systems. He has since helped the Warren Center launch a vibrant speaker series and select and advise its first set of postdoctoral fellows. Through the Warren Center’s initial wave of grant proposals, Vohra and co-director Michael Kearns are cultivating this incubator for discovery, mapping out research aims that require data-centric minds and methods from diverse fields such as economics, sociology, psychology, astronomy, neuroscience, law, communications, and engineering. Vohra also teaches undergraduates integrated approaches to the networks, economies, and markets of the future through the Networked & Social Systems Engineering Program, which began in 2011. This first of its type program focuses on technologies such as the Internet, social networks such as Facebook, and financial networks such as interbank lending markets.
Vohra’s current research explores ways to allocate wireless communication spectrum, re-design energy markets to account for the intermittency of renewable power sources, and evaluate systemic risk in financial markets.
He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1985 from the University of Maryland, an M.Sc. in operational research in 1981 from the London School of Economics, and a B.Sc. (Hon.) in mathematics in 1980 from University College London.
About the Donor
In 2010, George A. Weiss, W'65, HON'14, together with his wife, Lydia, endowed four Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, adding to his extensive philanthropic legacy of support for Penn's highest priorities.