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IFAAMAS-07 Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award

The selection committee for the IFAAMAS-07 Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award received a number of outstanding nominations and are delighted to recognize the achievement of these outstanding talented and committed researchers. We believe such versatility and productivity bodes well or the future of our research area. After careful consideration and deliberation of the nominations, we are delighted to announce the selection of Dr. Radu Jurca's dissertation, titled "Truthful Reputation Mechanisms for Online Systems," for the IFAAMAS-07 Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award.

Jurca's dissertation addresses a critical practical problem concerning reputation management in electronic environments. Jurca argues that reputation mechanisms can be equivalent for "word-of-mouth" for online environments and effective for building trust in such electronic markets which are particularly susceptible to fraud and deception due partly to lack of physical interaction between users. The focus of his work is on designing formal mechanisms that creates incentives for rational agents to provide honest reputation reports. His work both characterizes the limits of existing approaches and develops significant novel mechanisms. The proposed mechanisms for signaling and sanctioning reputation systems promote truth-telling and address concerns such as user collusion, payment size, restrictive assumptions about knowledge, etc. The thesis also investigates realistic applications of these technologies. In particular, Jurca discusses the application of such reputation mechanisms for efficient monitoring of quality-of-service domains. He also complements his theoretical study with an empirical analysis of human reputation reporting behavior on a popular online forum. Jurca is able to demonstrate a deep mastery of the diverse underlying issues and a wide range of methodologies and is able to make clear arguments that make the involved technical material accessible to the reader. Jurca's publication record is exemplary with representative papers appearing in premier conferences and journals in the area. The committee is convinced that Dr. Jurca's dissertation demonstrates significant, novel, independent, and potentially high-impact research and is eminently worthy of the recognition.

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