David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Kate Larson’s research is in multi-agent systems, a subfield of artificial intelligence that brings together computer science, mathematics, and economics. Kate is an outstanding researcher and in recognition of this Kate recently was awarded a prestigious Province of Ontario Early Researcher Award. To get a flavor of her research, consider the following (the work was done in collaboration with Georgia Kastidou and Robin Cohen). In e-commerce and online communities such as Amazon.com and TripAdvisor.com, a very useful feature is the ratings and recommendations of other participants. Over time, participants build up reputations within an online community for being more or less reliable. But a problem is that a reputation for reliability or usefulness in one community, such as Amazon.com, cannot be transferred to another community, such as TripAdvisor.com. Kate’s research addresses this problem by proposing a framework so that communities can exchange reputation information. A notable property of the framework is that honesty really is the best policy in this framework. Using Kate’s proposed framework, each online community is strengthened and benefited and individual participants themselves have an incentive to be better community citizens. Kate is also remarkable for her service orientation and her commitment to giving back to her community. Of particular note are her positions of leadership in the scientific community—she is currently president of IFAAMAS, the community of multi-agent researchers, and a Councilor for AAAI, the association of artificial intelligence researchers—and her work on outreach. In outreach, Kate has been active in organizing and speaking at events for female high school and university students to help ensure that young women see computer science as a career option. In summary, Kate combines excellence as a researcher with leadership in the scientific community and a commitment to the wider discipline of computer science.