Incentive centered design for information and communication systems

The Socio-Technical Infrastructure for Electronic Transactions (STIET) program, funded by a National Science Foundation IGERT Award, brings together faculty and doctoral students from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University in research, training, and outreach, through an incentive-centered design (ICD) approach to modern information systems.

Start date: 8/1/2007
End date: 7/31/2014

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System performance depends on the strategic behavior of autonomous, self-interested humans. Therefore, this project draws 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. ICD methods, for example, are applied to the design of user-contributed open-access content in social computing environments and to distributed allocation problems facing cyberinfrastructure development. The research seeks to have an impact on designs of real systems: projects typically are inspired by a practical problem, move into the realm of abstract theorizing, and end by influencing the design of fielded systems.

STIET has a comprehensive program that begins at doctoral matriculation, and provides activities and support until graduation. PhD trainees pursue a degree in their home department; the STIET program provides curriculum, research training and a collaborative research community. STIET provides a strong multidisciplinary, cross-school community of scholars within and across UM and WSU through joint and collaborative activities. 

The STIET program offers a National Science Foundation IGERT grant-funded fellowship program for the first two years of graduate study for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but all program activities are available to anyone interested. STIET provides a curriculum of two core courses and three advanced STIET elective courses selected from an extensive list. One of the most successful elements of the STIET program is the weekly multidisciplinary research seminar and the twice-annual day-long workshops.

In STIET we address the extraordinary changes in communications and computing technology, and the uses and requirements people have for these technologies. We design cyberinfrastructure to support safe, meaningful, efficient, equitable, and productive interactions.

Other Co-Principal Investigators from U-M are Michael Wellman, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, and Tilman Borgers, Samuel Zell Professor of the Economics of Risk.


IGERT: Incentive-Centered Design for Information and Communication Systems, National Science Foundation: $3,000,000

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…"