Fellows: Current year

Demétrio A. Da Silva Filho

Presentation - 
Demétrio Filho is a professor of Physics at the University of Brasilia and is the head of the department of Materials Structure, in the Institute of Physics. His research focus in the transport properties of Organic Semiconductors. He has published more than 70 scientific papers that currently has been cited more than 11.000 times. He finished his PhD at the University of Campinas with a research stay at The University of Arizona (USA). After his post-doc at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has been Senior Research Scientist at the same institution in the group of Prof. Jean-Luc Brédas. He is now full professor at the University of Brasilia. 

Research project - One of today's big challenges to material scientists is how to make cheaper and more efficient photovoltaic panels. Three-dimensional (3D) perovskite solar cells (PSC) emerged in 2009 and, with unprecedented growth of efficiency (from 3.8% to 21.8%), have attracted the attention of both academia and industry. Current research is focused on the two biggest challenges concerning the PSC: increasing their stability and reducing their toxicity. Here we propose a research project that will combine our expertise on organic semiconductors to apply state-of-the-art theoretical models in the description of the electronic structure and the nature of an exciton in a two-dimensional (2D) analogy of the 3D hybrid perovskites. Our research project takes advantage of the theoretical expertise of our group, in the theoretical characterization of excitons and their dynamics in organic materials and the expertise of Dr. Sini’s group at the University of Cergy-Pontoise in the spectroscopic signature of these quasi-particles to draw a comprehensive picture of the phenomena of light absorption and charge separation in these devices. Once a model is developed and validated, we will use it to investigate the impact of the substitution of the lead atom by other atoms, in the search for a solution to the above-mentioned toxicity problem. By understanding the nature of an exciton, we will be able to propose 2D structural modifications that will substantially improve the stability and the overall performance of these optoelectronic devices.

Frédéric Dumur


Frédéric Dumur is associate professor since 2008 at the University of Aix Marseille (France). Formerly at the University of Angers, the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne and the University of Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, he joined in 2008 the Institute of Radical Chemistry in Marseille. His research focuses on photochemistry and all the related applications including radical chemistry, photopolymerization and water-waste treatments. His research interest also includes the polymerization of organic monolayers on various metal substrates for optoelectronic applications. From 2013 to 2015, he was also associate researcher at the (Integration: from Material to Systems) IMS laboratory at the University of Bordeaux where he worked on the elaboration of organic light emitting diodes. He co-authored about 350 publications and 10 book chapters.

Research Project

During last decades, the great population increase worldwide together with the need of people to adopt improved conditions of living led to a dramatically increase of the consumption of polymers. Materials appear interwoven with our consuming society where it would be hard to imagine a modern society today without plastics which have found a myriad of uses in fields as diverse as household appliances, packaging, construction, medicine, electronics, and automotive and aerospace components. A continued increase in the use of plastics has greatly stimulated the development of new polymerization techniques. In this field, photopolymerization that makes use of light (and even sunlight) to convert a liquid monomer as a solid constitute an interesting approach, especially, if energy-saving and low-cost irradiation setups such as LEDs can be used. Additionally, light is a traceless reagent, enabling to develop more environmentally friendly polymerization processes. However, photopolymerization is currently facing a major drawback in industry, namely the use of photoinitiating systems that can only be activated with UV light, at the origin of numerous safety concerns. The present research project aims at addressing this issue by developing new photoinitiating systems activable under visible light and low light intensity. Especially, the careful selection of the chromophore used to interact with light could pave the way towards sunlight polymerization.

Anvar Farkhutdinov


Anvar Farkhutdinov is assistant professor of the Department of Geology, hydrometeorology and geoecology at the Bashkir State University. In 2012 he was awarded scholarship of the French Embassy in Moscow for PhD thesis under joint Russian-French supervision. In 2016-2018 he has participated in organization of the joint geological practice of the Bashkir State University students with the University of Cergy Paris students in the Southern Urals. In 2018 – winner of the Prize of the Russian Geological Society and the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia for the work: “Designing a

geopark in Salavat and adjacent north-eastern districts of the Republic of Bashkortostan”. In 2020 he was awarded a scholarship of the French Embassy in Moscow for scientific project with the Geosciences

and Environment Laboratory of the Cergy Paris University. Anvar Farkhutdinov is author of 60 articles in journals, including 12 indexed by Web of Science and Scopus. His recent research focuses on geology of the Southern Urals, in particular application of structural-tectonic modelling.

Research Project

Nowadays experimental and numerical modelling is widely used to investigate at various space and time scales the dynamics of lithospheric compressional or extensional deformation. The project goal is to conduct modelling of the Karatau structural complex formation, one of the key structures in the tectonics of the Southern Urals. Results will allow us to assess the possible influence of pre-existing faults and basement structures on the Karatau structural complex formation in particular and during the Southern Urals formation in general. We start with the hypothesis formulation, based on surface geology data, well data, articles and archive reports, which also will be used to define boundary and initial conditions and to evaluate the model results. Next is preliminary numerical modelling to help define some model specific parameters and to know in advance their influence on first fault formation during experimental (‘sandbox’) modelling. Then we move to experimental modelling with chosen parameters, which can vary during subsequent experiments. Last stage is numerical modelling, the results of which will be compared with the results of experimental simulation.

It is the very first experimental modelling of the Ural Mountains territory, so the Karatau structural complex simulation can start a qualitatively new stage in the studies of the Southern Urals.

Adel Francis


Francis is a Senior researcher or Professor of Ceramics at CMRDI with PhD, MSc and BSC chemistry degrees from university of Ain shams (Egypt), and Visiting Scientists at Imperial college London and Connecticut university, USA. In 2003, he was a visiting researcher at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and in 2011/2014 he conducted research at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU, Germany). He is a member of numerous scientific bodies such as the Royal society of chemistry (UK), the Egyptian syndicate for Professional Scientists and the German Society of Humboldtians. From 2007 to 2009 he did research at Technical University of Darmstadt as a Humboldt research fellow. His research is broad and encompasses a number of the various areas that fall under the heading of Materials Science and engineering. His research interests are centered on the relationships between the processing, microstructure and functional properties of ceramic and composite materials. He investigates functionalization strategies to modify metallic biomaterial surfaces (e.g. magnesium-based alloys) for medical implants and bone regeneration. Another important research area is the biological and functional behavior of organosilicon polymer-derived silicon-based ceramic composites for biomedical and engineering applications. Francis is a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation (AvH), and an alumnus of the FAU and DAAD.

Research Project

Biodegradable Magnesium is a significant and fascinating alternative to permanent metallic implants (e.g. stainless steel, cobalt-chromium, and titanium alloys) for orthopedic and dental applications. However, the vulnerability of magnesium to corrosion under physiological conditions has limited its introduction for therapeutic and clinical applications. Therefore, coating of magnesium seems to be a promising approach as it not only enables improvement in corrosion resistance but also provides a suitable surface for better bone bonding and cell growth. This project explores the surface modification of magnesium substrates by using a corrosion resistant coating made of organosilicon polymers /bioactive glass(BG) composites (in the presence of other additives, e.g. chitosan) via different coating techniques. The interdisciplinary nature of organosilicon polymers and their molecular structures, as well as their diversity of applications have resulted in an unprecedented range of devices and synergies cutting across unrelated fields in biology and engineering. Proper control of the treatment conditions and bioactive glass contents of the coating in combination with other additives (e.g. chitosan,..) is considered as being a proper way to stabilize the composite film, and to relate changes in the composition of the organosilicon matrix to the physical, biological and mechanical properties of the final composite product. In the end, development of new corrosion resistant coatings is expected to open up a new era in the engineering of materials for medicine and especially for orthopedic and dental applications.

Conor Henderson


Conor Henderson is an associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Judy and Hugh Oliphant Research Scholar at the Lundquist College of Business. Professor Henderson teaches and researches marketing strategy with an emphasis on firms' strategies and tactics aimed at building enduring customer relationships. His research aims to uncover areas where firms go wrong and identify opportunities to increase customer value and financial performance. Through a multi-method approach, Henderson investigates the strategic trade-offs across customers and over time in service, sports, digital, and business-to-business marketing contexts. His research has been awarded the 2016 Robert D. Buzzell MSI Best Paper Award by the Marketing Science Institute and the 2019 and 2020 Paper of the Year in Sports Marketing by the American Marketing Association’s Sports Marketing SIG. His research has published in leading marketing journals journals including the Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Professor Henderson is an Editor Review Board member for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and received the Best Reviewer Award in 2019.

Henderson received his PhD from the University of Washington in 2013. He has been a research fellow at the Sales and Marketing Strategy Institute since 2019.

Research Project

The rise of conscientious consumption movements pushes brands, and brand managers, to concern themselves with societal issues that were previously considered outside of the business domain. As brand managers begin to venture into the social-political domain, risks and potential pitfalls are revealed. Recent research in top marketing journals finds that brands’ social-political activism results in wide swings in firm value, depending on a myriad of contextual factors (Bhagwat et al 2020). The Marketing Science Institutes’ 2020-2022 research priorities highlight manager’s concern with how best to navigate an increasingly relevant social-political context. In response, the research projects examine how consumers' evaluations of brands are altered based on the salience of economic inequality and political partisanship. We have merged and analyzed secondary data as well as conducted experiments across 10 countries and found that consumers’ evaluations of powerful seeming brands suffer when economic inequality is especially salient. Regarding political partisanship, our first set of experiments find that consumers’ evaluations of brands suffer when the brands advertise alongside political news content that reports on positive news for the political candidates that the consumer opposes. We believe the effects are united by a common concern for societal power and how brands can seemingly provide credence to others who might use power for purposes that the consumer opposes. This is an important, and dynamic, research agenda. Further research is required to fully understand this process underlying these effects.

Vojkan Jakšić


Vojkan Jakšić has received his PhD in  1991 at California Institute of Technology. Since 2001 he  is  Professor of Mathematics at the McGill University in Montreal,  Canada.  His research interests are in the  field of mathematical physics. Vojkan Jaksic was the Convenor of the XIX International Congress on Mathematical Physics held in  Montreal, July 23-28, 2018, he is serving  as a  member of the Executive Committee of the IAMP 2015-2020, and has served as a   member of the ERC Consolidator Grant Panel jn 2015 and 2017, Section Mathematics (PE1).

Research project

The phenomena of the world are irreversible: we remember past and not future, a broken window does not suddenly reassemble itself, the heat flows from hot to cold. Since the early days of statistical mechanics the macroscopic distinction between past and future has caused wonder. How does irreversible thermodynamics emerge from time reversible microscopic equations of classical and quantum mechanics? How can one explain the constant increase of entropy (disorder) around us on the basis of mechanics? The fundamental works of Boltzmann, Gibbs, Maxwell, Einstein and many others have explained the phenomenon, but the issue has caused (and still does) much discussion and controversy.

From the mathematical side, the vision and insights of the statistical mechanics forefathers are very difficult to justify rigorously and have led to some exceedingly difficult problems in mathematics, most of which are still open. A mathematically rigorous justification of their ideas is one of the major open fields in mathematical physics. My  project concerns mathematical development of Boltzmann's ideas in the context of classical and quantum statistical mechanics, and is centred around the notions of non-equilibrium steady states and entropy production. This  research  program involves some of the most advanced tools of modern mathematics, and will be carried in part in collaboration with L. Bruneau and A. Shirikyan at the UCP Department of Mathematics.

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid


photo Kreider-Reid
photo Kreider-Reid

Dr. Elizabeth Kryder-Reid is Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, where she is the Director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center and former Director of the IUPUI Museum Studies Program. With anthropology degrees from Harvard and Brown, and professional experience in archaeology, art museums, and historic sites, her transdisciplinary research investigates how the tangible and intangible remnants of the past figure in the contestation of social inequalities across gender, race, class, ethnicity, and religion. Her past research on the intersections of landscape and power, including Keywords in American Landscape and California Mission Landscapes: Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage. Her current research is on toxic heritage, investigating how places of environmental harm are treated as heritage and examining the ways heritage sites are addressing aspects of their environmental harm, particularly as it intersects with environmental justice issues. As a Fulbright Research Scholar (2022), Dr. Kryder-Reid’s research in France explores the landscapes of ruination associated with military conflict, particularly the ecological and social consequences of munitions in the WWI battlefields in the areas designated as the “Zone Rouge.” While at CY Cergy, she is working with Dr. Anne Hertzog, and also participating in the Ruines de Guerre seminars on Martyred Villages.
Research Project
This project explores how heritage sites address the aspects of environmental harm in a time when cultural leaders are exploring how to address the central, even existential, issues of our time – climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. My work in France as a Fulbright research scholar focuses on the environmental legacies of WWI created both by their use during the war and the post-war destruction of conventional and chemical weapons across southern Belgium and northern France in the area designated as Le Zone Rouge. I am particularly interested in the physical, ecological, material, and narrative histories of buried ordinance and associated deposits from areas where munitions were not only left in situ as the “déchets de guerre” but also destroyed by burning, exploding, and dumping munitions in bodies of water. As a result, areas such as Verdun and the Somme have issues with contamination from lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals, as well as perchlorate contamination of groundwater. There is also a rich history of formal and informal memory practices related to WWI battlefields, as well as their ongoing management as natural and cultural landscapes. This intersection the toxic legacy of the battlefields and war memory practices offers a lens into the environmental impacts of the world’s first “industrial war” and our reckoning with the heritage of the Anthropocene.

Sonja Lakic


Sonja Lakić is an internationally trained architect, urban designer and planner, and a researcher with a PhD in Urban Studies. Her work evolves around the everydayness of contemporary cities and architecture, with a particular interest in anthropological and sociological aspects of architectural design and built environment and, most of all, lived forms of buildings. Topics of Sonja’s curiosity include (but are not limited to) open architecture, dialectical urbanism, buildings as living archives, emotional geographies, ethics of care, architecture and happiness, notion of home and practices of homemaking, housing and informality, homeownership and cultural heritage in the post-conflict societies. Sonja operates across different disciplines and scales, works visually and collects oral histories, practicing unconventional ethnography and storytelling mainly through photography and filmmaking, curating architecture, exhibitions, and her own life. In 2020, Sonja’s project “Apartment Biographies”, which was based on her PhD research on the post-socialist urban transformation of medium-sized ex Yugoslav cities, assigned her with the badge of Future Architecture 2020 Fellow. Sonja was appointed visiting researcher and a guest lecturer at ISCTE Lisbon and Universidad NOVA de Lisboa. She is a member of the international ETNO.URB network and has been collaborating with different institutions and organisations worldwide, such as Future Architecture Platform, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, MAXXI -  Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Copenhagen Architecture Festival, MAO – Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Estonian Museum of Architecture etc.

Research Project

«Tales from the Peripheral: Melancholy and the Other. Curating Cities and Placemaking in the post-Yugoslav urban space » brings to light the ‘how’ of places across the former Yugoslav urban space, making an original scientific contribution on socio-cultural practice of curating cities and shaping places through the perspective of “melancholy and the other” (Akcan, 2005). The research approaches the aforementioned cities as the non-western subjects that swing between the fascination and resistance towards the modern “West” while (re)constructing and (re)establishing the post-Yugoslav identity of their own. Working across different disciplines, such as architecture, urban anthropology and ethnography, sociology and urban geography, and altering between different scales, the tales from the peripheral track lived forms of cities, narrating the everydayness of rather controversial practices of appropriation and production of space and, finally, dominant cultural politics, juxtaposing these with grand narratives and macro histories in the making. Understanding melancholy as “a mode of collective production” that constitutes the human state of mind and emotions (Akcan, 2005), the research focuses on authorities-initiated practices that evoke ethnically clean national histories, while simultaneously collecting voices of residents through series of micro-narratives in the form of storytelling, photographs and films. This is a journey through landscapes of anarchy and a portrayal of the everyday subversive practices; a chronicle of day-to-day political manoeuvres and attempts to be validated as contemporary enough; an investigation of life unfolding in the peripheral places across the country that is long gone and is no more; a chronicle of what takes place in the outskirts of Europe; an atlas and a visual testimonial of a new spatial phenomenon, new morals and ethics,  freedom, social upheaval and demographic change.

Alberto Santini


Alberto Santini is tenure-track Assistant Professor (on leave) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), in Barcelona, Spain. He is also affiliate professor at the Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics, and the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (BGSE). He is a lecturer at the Barcelona School of Management and at RWTH Business School in Aachen, Germany. Before joining UPF, he was a post-doctoral fellow at RWTH Aachen University, a Visiting Scientist at Amazon in Seattle, US. He received his PhD in Automation and Operational Research (OR) in 2017 from the University of Bologna, Italy. He has been awarded with a BGSE Seed Grant, a Planetary Wellbeing Research Grant, a Juan de la Cierva scholarship, among others. He is the founder of AIROYoung (the youth chapter of AIRO, the Italian OR society), and of EUROYoung (a forum within EURO, the European Association of OR societies). He sits in the board of directors of AIRO.

Research Project

The boom of e-commerce in the last decade raises new challenges as retailers and couriers innovate their supply chains to keep up with demand. Last-mile delivery (LMD), the segment of the supply chain which starts at the last distribution centre and ends at the customer’s doorstep, is particularly affected. Its nature changed when retailers stopped delivering to stores and started delivering directly to consumers: couriers now handle a large number of small parcels, instead of fewer, larger shipments; they deliver during tight time windows, when customers are at home; they deal in real time with newly incoming orders while their fleet is already busy shipping other parcels.

A timely issue is the sustainability of current LMD operations with ever higher demands. There is  only a limited number of delivery vans which our cities can absorb before the externalities (traffic, emissions) become too large to bear. Retailers have proposed creative solutions, including delivery-by-drone or using autonomous land robots. Whether this technology is feasible and will be deployed to scale is hard to predict. There are other experiments, however, which employ readily available technology: for example, bike deliveries and crowdsourcing.

With this project, I will develop optimisation tools for logistic operators, which explicitly mitigate the negative externalities outlined above, while guaranteeing high service quality levels and economic sustainability. I will propose innovative processes, such as deliveries by public transport, to make LMD greener and more efficient.

Natthawat Semakul


Natthawat Semakul was born in Thailand. He earned a B.S. (Hons) in Chemistry from Chiang Mai University in 2010, where he developed a mild synthesis of cobalt titanate and worked as an intern at Chulabhorn Research Institute on the synthesis of Lamellarins natural products. As the Royal Thai Government scholarship recipient, he began graduate study on rhodium catalysis, C-H functionalization, and metalloenzyme with Professor Tomislav Rovis at Colorado State University, Fort Collins in 2011. In 2016, he moved with the group to Columbia University, New York where he completed his Ph.D. as a visiting researcher. In his graduate works, he developed cyclopentadienyl ligands on rhodium and efficient stereoselective reactions to synthesize various valuable nitrogen heterocycles. He began his independent career as a lecturer at Chiang Mai University in 2017, where his group interests encompass sustainable organic synthesis, ligand design for metal-organic frameworks, and porous organic polymers for adsorbents, Li-ion battery electrodes, and electrochemical sensors.


Research Project

Rechargeable batteries are key technology in the energy storage since they could help with the steadily energy supply. However, issues associated with traditional battery electrodes such as high toxicity, low recyclability, and limited availability and etc have been raised. More recently, organic materials have attracted an attention as alternatives to conventional battery electrodes due to their affordability, sustainability, and unlimited molecular design. However, the number of charge-discharge cycles and power capabilities of batteries employed organic electrodes are still problematic. Thus, designing of highly performing organic electrode materials is still challenging. We propose to design and synthesize biredox molecules and polymers and to investigate their use towards applications in symmetrical all- organic battery. Tailoring the physicochemical and electrochemical properties at the molecular scale becomes crucial, not only for boosting the activities of the existing materials but also for creating new type of molecular entities. Molecular design guidelines for the development of next generation of highly performing organic battery will be investigated.


Elisabeth Subrin

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Temenuga Trifonova


Temenuga Trifonova is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at York University. She is the author of The Figure of the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema (2020), Warped Minds: Cinema and Psychopathology (2014) and The Image in French Philosophy (2007), and editor/contributor of Screening the Art World (forthcoming in 2021), Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime (2017) and European Film Theory (2008). Her articles have appeared in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, Cinema & CieCTheory, SubStance, Space and Culture, Rivista di EsteticaStudies in Comics, The European Journal of American Culture, Studies in European Cinema, Cineaste, Film and Philosophy, CineAction, Scope, etc. She is a member of the College of Expert Reviewers (European Science Foundation) and member of the Editorial Committee of the journal EuropeNow, published by the Council for European Studies at Columbia University.

Research Project

The Poetics and Politics of the New European Cinema of Precarity explores the stylistic features of the new European cinema of precarity (1990s-present) and the political and social values embodied in it. The project will situate historically the new European cinema of precarity by drawing out the socio-political similarities and differences between contemporary films and earlier representations of precarity in European cinema in order to establish whether the new European cinema of precarity continues the legacy of these film movements or forges a new path, and whether it replicates contemporary debates between political theorists, sociologists and economists or it stages class identity and class struggle in completely different terms. The project asks where the new European cinema of precarity locates the possibility for social and political transformation—in a particular class, in fighting for a particular good/cause, or in a particular political stance? It also aims to establish whether intersectional approaches to precarity addressing gender, race, and (dis)ability detract (or not) from a focus on economic inequality, and whether ‘precarity’ might be seen as a middle-class concept emerging from a liberal identity politics that remains oblivious to the centrality of class.

Dimitrios Zormpas


Dimitrios Zormpas is a post-doc research fellow at the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Brescia since March 2020. He has been previously working at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bologna (2019-2020) and at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Padova (2018-2019). He has been awarded with a PhD in Real Estate Appraisal and Land Economics from the University of Padova (2018) and holds a Master and a Bachelor in Economics from the University of Macedonia. His main research interests are in the fields of Investment Theory, Energy Economics and Industrial Organization. He is currently working on the effect of vertical relationships and agency conflicts on the timing and efficiency of investment projects. He is also interested in the analysis of public-private partnerships, land allocation problems, investments in the energy sector and the analysis of overlapping ownership arrangements.

Research Project

Investment dynamics under agency conflicts and overlapping ownership arrangements

The assumption that entrepreneurial firms are self interested is central to most research in economics and finance. However, since overlapping ownership arrangements (OOAs) among firms are nowadays an important feature of firm ownership structures, treating firms as own-value maximizers may no longer properly capture strategic interactions among them.

This increasing trend of OOAs has recently attracted significant attention from the literature since these types of arrangements are expected to affect firms’ objectives and behavior. In particular, if a firm or a firm’s shareholders hold stakes in competitors, then the firm’s manager is naturally led to positively weigh the values of these competitors. Analysts and policy makers have expressed concern about the possible anticompetitive effects of the steady rise in OOAs.

While a substantial amount of literature analyzes how OOAs affect market competitiveness and price-setting, there are significantly fewer papers that discuss the impacts of these arrangements on other firm decisions such as market entry, product development and R&D. At the same time, an assumption that is almost ubiquitous in the literature is that firms are run by managers who act entirely in the interests of the shareholders.

In this work, I will discuss the exercise of an investment option delegated from a firm owner to a firm manager accounting both for agency conflicts (the manager has an informational advantage) and for OOAs (the owner holds shares in a competitor). My goal is to find how the interaction between the two parties is affected by the OOAs and how this is reflected in the investment timing and the value of the option to invest.


Seminar: June 8, 2021 from 12:30 to 13:30

   "Optimal Investment in Flexible Combined Heat and Power Generation" Abstract: We find the optimal investment timing and capacity of flexible combined heat and power (CHP) units. We show that flexibility guarantees earlier investment but has an ambiguous effect in terms of optimal capacity with respect to investments in standard CHP units. A numerical exercise using data from the pulp and paper industry concludes the paper. https://thema.u-cergy.fr/evenements/seminaire-interne/article/dimitrios-zormpas-essec-cy-1596

William Zwicker


William S. Zwicker is the William D. Williams Professor of Mathematics at Union College, and was trained at Harvard University (undergraduate) and MIT (Ph.D.). He has held visiting positions at York University (Toronto), the Autonoma University of Barcelona, Alicante University, the London School of Economics, Balliol College Oxford, Université de Caen, and Université Paris Dauphine.  He received the 2009 Stillman Prize for teaching, and currently serves on the editorial boards of Mathematical Social Sciences and of Studies in Economic Design.  His principal research areas include set theory and logic, cooperative game theory, social choice theory, and fair division.  He authored the Voting chapter in the Handbook of Computational Social Choice (Cambridge, 2016) and is co-author, with Alan D. Taylor, of the research monograph Simple Games (Princeton, 1999).  Bill is particularly enthusiastic about questions of a geometric or combinatorial nature that arise from the social sciences and are of independent mathematical interest.

Research Project

Aggregation fuses disparate information from multiple sources into one collective view or decision.  When we vote, individual ballots are aggregated into an election outcome; in cluster analysis, similarities and differences among objects are aggregated into a grouping of objects; and in judgment aggregation, discordant views on which statements are true and which false are combined into a logically consistent collective judgment. A variety of aggregation methods exist, and the choice matters.  For example, when we vote for president with ballots that rank several candidates in order of preference, different voting methods applied to the same ballots may declare different winners.  Who, then, is the “right” winner?   

We lack any general theory of aggregation explaining why methods disagree, or helping us choose the right method for a given context, but there is now a promising direction to explore.  The Median Procedure yields a wide variety of methods as special cases and is described via a certain measure of distance; the election winner is the candidate “closest” to all ballots cast, for example. For the space in which distance is measured, some directions turn out to be perpendicular to others, and encode different, independent types of information.  When different information types are actively aggregated or suppressed, we get different methods.  The key research questions are now: How far can this type of analysis be pushed?  Can classifying types of information tell us which method is best?