Dana Nau

Funding Agency

Air Force Office of Scientific Research




Professor Dana Nau (CS/ISR), Professor Michele Gelfand (Psychology), and Assistant Professor Tom Goldstein (CS) are part of a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), one of 24 awarded this year by the Department of Defense. MURIs provide funding for up to five years to academic institutions for multidisciplinary basic research, subject to satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds. Together, the 2018 MURIs total $169 million in funding.

Mean field games (MFGs) are used to study strategic decision making in large populations where individual players interact via certain mean-field quantities. They have recently gained enormous popularity as powerful research tools with applications ranging from tracing quantum mechanics to biodiversity ecology and the evolution of biological systems. MFGs also have the potential to make a great impact on the evolution of social cooperation, macroeconomics, stock markets and wealth distribution, among other fields.

In general, this MURI project aims to make real progress in developing the potential of MFGs through a coordinated effort based on building an overarching mathematical framework, developing accurate modeling in diverse applications, and creating a set of algorithmic tools that support fast simulation, prediction and inverse design. The team of eight experts encompasses the fields of pure math/partial differential equations (Gangbo), applied math/numerical analysis (Osher), optimization (Yin), optimization/machine learning (Goldstein), psychology (Gelfand), artificial intelligence and game theory (Nau) and electrical engineering (Han and Poor).