Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lloyd Shapley: obituaries, and memories

I've been asked to write a short "intellectual obituary" about Lloyd's work, which I'll try to do in the coming days.  In the meantime, here's a paragraph:

Lloyd Shapley was one of the founding giants of game theory. He shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics for his seminal work with David Gale on stable matching, but he could have won a Nobel for any of a number of his papers that initiated whole literatures: he was one of the very first to formulate and study the core of a game, he and John Milnor initiated the study of games with a continuum of players (“Oceanic Games”), he invented the Shapley value, he and Martin Shubik showed how it could be useful in studying voting and political processes, and his paper on Stochastic Games initiated the study of Markov Decision Processes as well as Markov Games. 
Below, links to some obituaries:

The Economist: Matchmaker in heaven--Lloyd Shapley, a Nobel laureate in economics, has died

"One of Mr Shapley’s better-known achievements is the Gale-Shapley matching algorithm, which he devised after an old university friend (David Gale) asked for help to solve a problem. Given two groups of people, each with slightly different preferences, is there a way to match them in such a way that people aren’t constantly ditching their partner? After much head-scratching, Mr Gale suspected there was no solution, but could not prove it. As Mr Shapley told it, the solution took him the best part of an afternoon. "

UCLA: UCLA mourns the passing of Nobel laureate Lloyd Shapley, 92. Shapley, widely considered a father of game theory, was professor emeritus of economics and mathematics
"Shapley was widely considered one of the fathers of game theory. His research focused on both cooperative and non-cooperative game theory, in fields including stochastic games, strategic market games, assignment games, cooperative and non-cooperative market models, voting games and power indices, potential games, cost allocation and organization theory. His work included the development of the “Shapley value” and the “core.”

“Professor Shapley was one of the giants of game theory,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “His work in market design laid the foundation for advances in the matching of kidney donors with transplant recipients, in college admissions procedures, and in assignment of children to public schools. The entire UCLA community joins Professor Shapley’s family in mourning his passing.”

In their 1962 paper, “College admissions and the stability of marriage,” Shapley and mathematician/economist David Gale demonstrated how to match members of two groups — for example, men and women in a “marriage market” — in a way that is stable."

The NY Times: Lloyd S. Shapley, 92, Nobel Laureate and a Father of Game Theory, Is Dead

The Rand Corp. press release: Lloyd S. Shapley, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Dies at 92
"He was a research mathematician at RAND from 1948 to 1950 and from 1954 to 1981. He also taught “Game Theory and Applications” in the 1970s and early 1980s at what is now the Pardee RAND Graduate School, which awarded him an honorary degree in 2014."
The Associated Press obit: Nobel laureate Lloyd S. Shapley dies at 92 in Arizona

Here's a short video in which I was interviewed about my first meeting with Shapley:

I also wrote very briefly about that first meeting in the autobiographical essay I prepared for the Nobel:

"As I prepared to leave California for Illinois, I paid a visit to Lloyd Shapley at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica to tell him about my work. I recall a pleasant visit, in which he correctly conjectured how the proof of my fixed point theorem worked, and (if I recall correctly) ended with him driving me to the airport in his station wagon. "

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