Monday, March 11, 2019

Cornell celebrates Eva Tardos

In the Cornell Sun:

A Tribute to the Women in Lab Coats, Behind the Microscopes and Computer Screens
By Sophie Reynolds, Catherine Cai, Caroline Chang

"Professor Eva Tardos, Computer Science
Cornell Professor Eva Tardos, computer science, focuses her research on the effects of “selfish users” in networks. A “selfish user” optimizes resource usage for their own benefit like in packet routing, crowdsourcing and bitcoin mining. Selfish optimization by one user can have a negative effect on other users because it could limit access to resources and subsequently slow down processes in their respective areas of a network.
“Understanding the tradeoff between more complicated designs that can mediate effects of selfish users versus a simpler design […] is an area that I have been working on for 20 or so years, and I still find it fascinating,” Tardos said.
Tardos’ research also overlaps heavily with algorithmic game theory. Tardos notes that her research is extremely interdisciplinary and that she actively communicates with Cornell faculty such as Professor David Easley, economics, as well as economics graduate students.
“The graduate course that I last taught, CS 6840: Algorithmic Game Theory, had econ grad students in it and those are the people I often talk to, even after the course.”
Tardos not only collaborates with economists at Cornell, but also with larger scientific communities such as in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Economics and Computation, a forum to exchange ideas and converse over technical papers.
In addition to her research, Tardos teaches CS 4820: Analysis of Algorithms, a core class in Cornell’s computer science curriculum that focuses on the design and analysis of computer science algorithms.
“The best part of teaching undergraduate students is to teach students a principled way of thinking about algorithms,” Tardos said.
Tardos, a strong advocate for women in computing fields and an advisor for Women In Computing At Cornell, acknowledges that the number of women getting involved in computer science has not steadily risen like in many other STEM fields.
According to Tardos, the 1980’s were a high point for women in computing but after the dot com boom and bust, the number of women in computer science started to drop.
“Fortunately, in recent years that trend has reversed, and we are doing much better in attracting women to the field,” Tardos said.
Cornell is already ahead of the curve in achieving a 1:1 ratio of women to men in engineering disciplines, and Tardos remains very optimistic about the prospect of more women in computing fields entering academia.
Tardos hopes that this generation of women does not underestimate the excitement of being a computer scientist at a research university."

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