Cornell University

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Seminar @ Cornell Tech: Hongyao Ma

Monday, March 4, 2019 at 11:00pm to 12:00pm

Cornell Tech, Bloomberg 165 2 West Loop road, NY NY 10044

"Spatio-Temporal Pricing for Ridesharing Platforms"

As we envision a future with an ever-increasing integration of technology and markets, the questions of reliability come to the core. In this talk, I present my work on matching and pricing for ridesharing platforms, where drivers’ strategic behavior (e.g. cherry-picking trips, and declining trips to chase surge prices) undercut their stated mission of “providing transportation as reliable as running water.” I introduce the Spatio-Temporal Pricing mechanism, which uses information about supply and demand over a planning horizon, solves for the welfare-optimal matching, and sets prices that are “smooth” in both space and time. In this way, the mechanism aligns incentives for drivers and promotes reliability without using penalties or time-extended contracts--- always accepting all trip dispatches forms a subgame-perfect equilibrium among the drivers. The mechanism also satisfies fairness properties, including that drivers at the same location and time do not envy each other's continuation payoffs. The mechanism is also robust, in that it achieves optimality along with other axiomatic properties from any history onward, including after a deviation. Simulation analysis suggests that the STP mechanism can achieve significantly higher social welfare than a myopic pricing mechanism.



Hongyao Ma is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science in Harvard SEAS, advised by Prof. David C. Parkes. Her research is broadly situated at the intersection of economics and computer science, and she is particularly interested in designing market-based systems to bring people together in useful ways, in the presence of uncertainty, self-interest, and autonomy. Ma is a recipient of the Siebel Scholarship, Harvard SEAS fellowship, and the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching at Harvard. She received her M.S. in 2014 at Harvard, and B.E. in 2012 at Xi'an Jiaotong University, both in Electrical Engineering. 



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Cornell Tech - NYC




Hongyao Ma

Speaker Affiliation

Harvard SEAS

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Available Upon Request

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