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Workshop: GCEC'20

The workshop on Global Challenges in Economics and Computation (GCEC'20) will take place virtually on July 17-19 (Friday to Sunday) from 10AM–4PM EST. All are welcome to attend for either the entire event or a subset of days. 

  • Register here

  • Attend by accessing the same virtual venue that was used for attending EC'20.



  • 10:00AM-11:30AM: Welcome & Contributed talks 1 [GCEC Video Room]

    • Maximising the Benefits of an Acutely Limited Number of COVID-19 Tests in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Francisco Javier Marmolejo Cossio, Jakob Jonnerby, Edwin Lock, Divya Sridhar, Fernando Díaz Barriga Martínez, Ángel Gabriel Alpuche Solís, Salvador Ruiz Correa, Cesaré Ovando-Vázquez, Sergio Casas Flores and Philip Lazos.

    • Targeting and Allocative Efficiency in Vocational Training: Evidence from the Tejaswini Program for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in India. Smit Gade, Shubha Chakravarty and Achyuta Adhvaryu. 

    • Afforestation Incentive Design for Smallholding Farmers in Uganda. Clement Okia, Wanyi Li, Nicole Immorlica, Brendan Lucier and Hanna Ihli.

    • Using Security Games to Curb Insurgency in Nigeria. Halleluyah Aworinde, Segun Adebayo, Akinwale Akinwunmi, Femi Alamu, Adeyinka Abiodun and Femi Oladele

    • Effective House Allocation: A Case Study of Kenya. Faith Okong'O and Louisa Kamwele

    • Powering South Western Nigeria Using Cooperative Game Theory. Oluwakemi Fasae, Oluwaseun Oladimeji and Oluwakemi Akinwehinmi.

    • Towards Increasing Cervical Cancer Screening uptake and Reducing Mortality rate in Nigeria. Nentawe Gurumdimma, Jaafaru Jibrin, Chuwang Nyam and Innocent Emmanuel.

  • 11:30AM-12:00PM: Coffee break [Poster Room]

  • 12:00PM-1:30PM: Invited talks 1 [EC Video Room]

    • Milind Tambe

    • Rudradeb Mitra

    • Celina Lee

    • Victor Ohuruogu

  • 1:30PM-2:00PM: Coffee break [Poster Room]

  • 2:00PM-3:30PM: Panel Discussion on Markets for Global Challenges [EC Video Room]

    • Panelists:

      • Alexandra Amouyel (MIT Solve)

      • Moustapha Cisse (Google; African Masters of Machine Intelligence)

      • Celina Lee (Zindi)

      • Irene Lo (Stanford University; Mechanism Design for Social Good)

      • Sean McGregor (XPRIZE Foundation and Syntiant)

      • Rudradeb Mitra (Omdena Inc.)

      • Victor Ohuruogu (UN Foundation Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data)

      • Bright Simons (mPedigree)

      • Milind Tambe (Harvard University; Google)

      • Nikhil Velpanur (Wadhwani AI)

      • Charity Wayua (IBM Research Africa)

  • 3:30PM-4:00PM: Closing remarks; End of day coffee break [Poster Room]


  • 10:00AM-10:25AM Invited talk: Peng Shi [GCEC Video Room]

  • 10:25AM-11:00AM: Contributed talks 2 [GCEC Video Room]

    • Toward Creditworthiness: Eliciting Social Knowledge for Agricultural Credit in the Developing World. Daniel Mutembesa and Mark York.

    • Data-driven Agent-based Models in Real-world Dairy (DAMReD). Devotha Godfrey Nyambo and Thomas Clemen.

    • SECure: A Social and Environmental Certificate for AI Systems. Abhishek Gupta, Camylle Lanteigne and Sara Kingsley.

  • ​11:00AM-11:30 Poster Flash Talks [GCEC Video Room]

  • 11:30AM-12:30PM: GCEC Poster Session [Poster Room]

  • 12:30PM-1:30PM: Invited talks 2 [EC Video Room]

    • Moustapha Cisse

  • 1:30PM-2:00PM: Global Challenges winner announcement; closing remarks; coffee break


  • 10:00AM-11:30AM: Invited talks 3 [EC Video Room]

    • P. Anandan

    • Bright Simons

    • Sean McGregor

  • 11:30AM-12:00PM: Coffee break

  • 12:00PM-1:05PM: Contributed Talks 3 [GCEC Video Room]

    • Effective Management of the vegetable and fruit supply chain affecting the micro, small and medium-scale agriculture sector in Sri Lanka, using an AI-based technology application. Authors: Bamunusing Welegey Renuka Damayanthi, Buddy Liyanage, Hewa Katukurundage Sarath and Hewa Katukurundage Thusara Deemantha.

    • Zero Hunger: Optimizing Food Distribution to Reduce Wastage. Authors: Stephen Oni and Sarah Adekunle.

    • Developing and Commercializing an Agro-goods Transport and Market (AgroTM) Tool for Promoting Smallholder Farmers on Participating in Economic Development. Authors: Stivin Nchimbi, Rehema Mwawado and Mussa Dida.

    • A Mobile and Web-based Geo-Information System for Land and Property Marketing and Sale in East Africa. Authors: Brian Muganda, Bernard Shibwabo and Henry Muchiri.

    • A Decentralized Educational Prediction Market for Information Aggregation, Ideas Generation and Forecasting. Authors: Brian Muganda, Bernard Shibwabo and Henry Muchiri.

    • Reporting on Online Media Activities: bias News Inference Algorithms (ROMANIA). Authors: Guillaume Ducoffe, Augustin Chaintreau, Gabriel Istrate, Florin Pop and Radu Boncea.

    • Expert-in-the-loop Recommender System using Machine Learning for Localised Agricultural Advisory to Smallholder Farmers in a Developing Country. Authors: Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende, Mutembesa Daniel, and Bo Waggoner.

  • ​1:15PM-1:45PM: Invited talk: Alex Pompe [EC Video Room]

  • 1:45PM-2:00PM: Global Challenges winner announcement; closing remarks [EC Video Room]


  • Eric Sodomka (Facebook Research)

  • Dina Machuve (Data Science Africa; Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology)

  • Olubayo Adekanmbi (Data Science Nigeria; MTN Nigeria)

  • Katie Bernhard (United Nations Development Programme Uganda)

  • Katrina Ligett (SIGecom executive committee; Hebrew University)

  • Kevin Leyton-Brown (University of British Columbia)

Invited Speakers/Panelists

  • Alexandra Amouyel (Executive Director at MIT Solve)

  • Padmanabhan Anandan (CEO of Wadhwani AI)

  • Moustapha Cisse (Head of Google AI in Accra, Ghana; Founder and Director of the African Master of Machine Intelligence at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences)

  • Celina Lee (Co-founder and CEO of Zindi Africa)

  • Irene Lo (Assistant Professor at Stanford University; Co-Organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good)

  • Sean McGregor (Technical lead at XPRIZE Foundation; Syntiant)

  • Rudradeb Mitra (Founder and CEO of Omdena Inc.)

  • Victor Ohuruogu (Senior Africa Regional Manager at UN Foundation Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data)

  • Alex Pompe (Facebook Data for Good)

  • David Sengeh (Education Minister and Chief Innovation Officer for the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation in Sierra Leone)

  • Peng Shi (Assistant Professor at USC)

  • Bright Simons (Founder and President of mPedigree)

  • Milind Tambe (Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University; Director of “AI for Social Good” at Google Research India)

  • Nikhil Velpanur (Senior Director at Wadhwani AI)

  • Charity Wayua (Senior Research Manager at IBM Research Africa)


The Economics and Computation (EconCS) research community is unrepresentative of the global population---broadly speaking, many of us come from similar parts of the world, have similar backgrounds, read similar papers, and work on similar problems. This relative homogeny of our community might be leading to information silos and blind spots. Are we oblivious to important social problems in other parts of the world that EconCS expertise could help solve? Are there people in these regions who could become experts in EconCS, bringing new intersections of domain and technical expertise to our research community?


The GCEC'20 workshop is meant to serve as a complement to the Global Challenges in Economics and Computation (GCEC) Request for Proposals (RFP). That RFP will provide $150K in funding to aspiring researchers from low- and middle-income countries to apply research in economics and computation (EconCS) to help achieve the U.N.’s sustainable development goals. A goal of that RFP is to grow EconCS expertise into new parts of the world, so that future students in those areas will have local experts to provide EconCS mentorship.

However, the RFP alone will not likely lead to long-lasting change for our community. Our community needs to focus its efforts on a longer-term view: changing the way in which we discover research projects and collaborate.

The main idea of this workshop is that we should more deliberately think about the problem of facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations as a market design problem. We believe this is our research community’s path to greatest societal impact—we should focus on building the engine that allows people across disciplines to tackle important social issues, and in the process, expand the technical expertise of aspiring researchers in parts of the world where it’s currently lacking. Our goal is to take a project-based approach and provide apprenticeship learning to effectively mentor people into having novel intersections of domain and technical expertise.

There are many tools of EconCS that might be relevant in helping such a market for global challenges succeed: matching markets, reputation systems, crowdfunding, badge design, referral networks, voting, prediction markets, data markets, targeting relevant practitioners through online advertising, methods for efficiently eliciting preferences and stakeholders’ understanding of their problem, and so on.

But currently, our research community at large doesn’t deeply understand the needs of these different stakeholders (e.g., established researchers, aspiring researchers, funders, data owners, international development organizations, local NGOs). Throwing tools of EconCS at the problem without actually understanding people’s needs is a recipe for solving made up problems. This workshop will thus embrace techniques from lean startup methodologies: to understand the market, prototype rapidly, get user feedback, and pivot. The focus of the workshop this year is the following:

  1. Better understand the needs all the stakeholders mentioned above.

  2. Get feedback from various stakeholders about what worked—and what didn’t—with what we did this year to facilitate collaborations through the RFP.


Crucially, we hope to learn by doing. The winners of this year’s RFP will serve as important case studies for understanding what factors are important for these collaborations to succeed. As such, the workshop will also contain sessions that explicitly aim to facilitate and nurture such collaborations.

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