Incentive Centered Design

Making the Internet Safe, Fun, and Profitable


 In the News: The Huffington Post ran a story on a study by STIET Co-PI, Professor Michael Wellman and STIET Fellow Elaine Wah that shows high-frequency stock trading is bad for profits, including those of high-frequency traders. Wellman also published an op-ed in TechCrunch about the work.

 40 Under 40! Former STIET fellow, Aniket Gune, has been named a Today Brand Innovators "40 Under 40" winner as one of the most innovative marketers under 40. Aniket is the Director of Social Media Acquisition at American Express, building end-to-end word-of-mouth social programs that drive card acquisition.

 Congrats! Former STIET fellow, Christopher Kiekintveld, has been awarded a CAREER grant for research on strategic decision making using computer gaming models.

Contact STIET

STIET Program
University of Michigan
3373 North Quad
105 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285
voice (734) 647-6333
fax (734) 615-3587

User login

STIET Research

STIET has made substantial contributions to multidisciplinary advances spanning social, economic, computer and engineering sciences. Our original program was broadly defined to cover widely ranging multidisciplinary investigations of infrastructure for electronic transactions. We now will consolidate on a coherent intellectual core that has proven to be our most important development: incentive-centered design (ICD) for information and communication systems. System performance depends on the strategic behavior of autonomous, self- interested humans; therefore we draw on theories of rational decision making, game-theoretic models of strategic interaction, and economic, psychological and other social science theories of motivation to form a principled grounding for system design. We will apply our advances in ICD methods to the design of user-contributed open-access content in social computing environments and to distributed allocation problems facing cyberinfrastructure development.

STIET Research in the News

  • In the Balance project, Paul Resnick has developed a system that automatically classifies news and opinion articles as conservative or liberal, utilizing vote data from the social news aggregator Digg. The algorithm is highly accurate, scoring over 95% in classifying articles that human raters identified as either liberal or conservative. The automatic classifier will be useful in the development of news services that try to prevent political polarization by nudging people reading a mixture of both liberal and conservative items. The Prevalence of Political Discourse in Non-Political Blogs (Zhou, Resnick and Mei 2011).

  • 2010 WSU STIET faculty member, Robert Reynolds, STIET fellow Leonard Kinniard-Heether, and REU student Tracy Liu used the Cultural Algorithm Toolkit (CAT 3.0 system) as the basis for training a Neural network controller to play the game of SuperMario, winning first place in the IEEE Super Mario Competition July 2010. Since then they have gone on to use the CAT 3.0 system to allow large herds of caribou to do goal-based optimal path-planning in virtual worlds designed to simulate the environment of ancient hunters 10,000 years ago in Michigan. The team of archaeologists, oceanographic engineers, and computers scientists have made meaningful discoveries because of this work.

  • July 2009 Working with Michael Wellman, STIET fellow, Patrick Jordan led the design and development of trading interfaces and strategies for the Ad Auction game in the Trading Agent Competition, and contributed significantly to post-tournament analysis. Jordan's REU mentee as a part of the STIET-Summer Research Opportunity Program (S-SROP), Guha Balakrishnan, is a co-author and received a College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award.

  • 7/10/08 Bluffing in Prediction Markets in research by Rahul Sami and STIET fellow, Stanko Dimitrov

  • 4/21/08 Yahoo Answers users seek advice, opinion, as well as expertise in research by Mark Ackerman, Lada Adamic and STIET fellow Eytan Bakshy

  • 7/24/07 STIET has received a highly-competitive five-year NSF grant renewal for our research and training program.We will implement major innovations including a new leading-edge multidisciplinary research program emerging from our prior work, called incentive-centered design; a new summer research team program for undergraduate and master's students from under-represented groups to stimulate recruiting into graduate programs and to simultaneously enhance our PhD training; and an expansion of the research and training program to Wayne State University to disseminate our training success, and to strengthen our recruiting efforts.

  • June 11-15, 2007 STIET Director Jeff MacKie-Mason was General Chair for the 2007 ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC'07) in San Diego. STIET faculty and graduate students presenting research at the conference included Yan Chen, Stan Dimitrov, Yagil Engel, Tom Finholt, Daniel Grosu, John Lin, Rahul Sami, Kan Takeuchi, Mike Wellman.
  • Former STIET fellow, Thede Loder and his start-up company, Boxbe, are in a March article in The Economist about online advertising and solutions to the problem of junk email. See the Economist article (requires subscription) on 3/8/07.

  • June 2006: STIET hosted the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC'06) on June 11-15, 2006.

  • STIET research on spam by STIET fellows Thede Loder, Rick Wash Professor Marshall Van Alstyne hits the news. Their paper, An Economic Solution to the Spam Problem was presented at the MIT Spam Conference 2004 and ACM EC'04. Also see the Wall Street Journal article (requires subscription) on 1/15/04.

  • STIET fellow Derek Hansen published an article in JAMA about an Internet filtering project in work with Dr. Caroline Richardson, Professor Paul Resnick, Holly A. Derry, and Victoria Rideout called "Does Pornography-Blocking Software Block Access to Health Information on the Internet?" in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dec. 11, 2002. 288(22) 2887-2894.