Jenn Wortman Vaughan


I am a Researcher at Microsoft Research, New York City, a relatively new collaborative and interdisciplinary basic research lab.

The goal of my research is to develop mathematically rigorous, empirically grounded frameworks to understand and design algorithms for eliciting and aggregating information, preferences, and beliefs. My research draws on ideas from economics, machine learning, probability theory, optimization, and beyond. For several years, my research has centered on elicitation and aggregation using prediction markets, wagering mechanisms, and other crowdsourcing approaches. For a more complete picture of what I do, take a look at some of my publications.

I am also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UCLA where I advise doctoral student Chien-Ju Ho. I am not taking on new students of my own, but do get to work with awesome summer interns at MSR. Ph.D. students with strong publication records in relevant areas are encouraged to apply in late fall.

What's New?

I am excited to be a mentor for MSR-NYC's second Data Science Summer School. DS3 aims to increase diversity in computer science by providing an eight-week introduction to data science for college students in New York City.

My student Chien-Ju Ho just defended his thesis and was awarded the Google Outstanding Graduate Research Award at UCLA. Congratulations, Chien-Ju!

I am co-organizing a CCC visioning workshop on Theoretical Foundations for Social Computing this June.

I gave an invited talk at the New York Area Theory Day in April.

This year I am an Area Chair for NIPS and on the Senior Program Committee of ACM EC and IJCAI and PC of HCOMP.

I am also on the PC of two EC workshops: Crowdsourcing and Online Behavioral Experiments and Social Computing and User Generated Content.

I gave invited talks at two NIPS workshops this December: Crowdsourcing and Machine Learning and Transactional Machine Learning and E-Commerce.

Our Machine Learning Journal Special Issue on Computational Social Science and Social Computing has been published.

I am working on an exciting new project.

I recently co-organized the 6th annual New York Computer Science and Economics (NYCE) Day, which was held on November 1, 2013.

I also co-organized a workshop on Crowdsourcing: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications at NIPS in December 2013.

Jake Abernethy and I gave a tutorial on Prediction, Belief, and Markets at AAAI in Bellevue, Washington. Previous versions were presented at ICML, KDD, and the Machine Learning Summer School at UC Santa Cruz.

I am excited to be a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers! You can read about it in the White House press release or on the White House blog.

More activities..


I came to MSR-NYC from UCLA where I was an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department. Prior to that I spent a year as a Computing Innovation Fellow at Harvard University where I was a member of the EconCS group and the Theory group, and an affiliate of the Center for Research on Computation and Society.

I received my Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. I was extremely lucky to be advised by Michael Kearns. My doctoral dissertation, Learning from Collective Preferences, Behavior, and Beliefs, introduced a series of new learning models and algorithms designed to address the problems commonly faced when aggregating local information across large population, and was awarded Penn's Rubinoff award for innovative applications of computer technology. During my time at Penn, I spent two fun summers interning in New York, first with the Machine Learning and Microeconomics groups at Yahoo! Research and then in the research group at Google.

Before coming to Penn, I completed a Masters in Computer Science at Stanford where I got my first taste of research working with the Multiagent Group. Further back in the day, I was a carefree undergrad at BU.

You might remember me as Jenn Wortman. When I got married, I took Vaughan (pronounced "von") as my "official" last name and moved Wortman to my middle name. This never fails to confuse people. I use both names together professionally and prefer that you do too.

Get In Touch

The best way to reach me is by email. I am jenn at