Matthias Gerstgrasser’s personal website

I am a Research Associate (postdoc) at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, working with David Parkes on multi-agent learning and connections to game theory. In lay terms, I teach AIs to play nice with each another, and with us humans.

In technical terms, my work is in multi-agent RL, particularly in cooperative RL and taking into account incentive design. I am especially interested in approaches that leverage structure in a multi-agent system. For instance, can we take into account that one agent is a market leader that moves first? This is closely related to automated system and mechanism design, where we model the designer as a leader agent. Suitably structured multi-agent RL methods could allow us to train end-to-end not only agent behavior, but also the system of interaction as well. Similarly, can we decompose the agent learning problem into separate instances of learning domain skill and learning multi-agent interaction? Doing so could alleviate one of the major bottlenecks in multi-agent RL in complex domains, and could even allow us to mix-and-match domain behaviors and modes of interaction with little or no re-training. My research focuses on methodology, but with an eye toward applications.

Previously, I did my DPhil (PhD) at Oxford with Paul Goldberg and Elias Koutsoupias. My thesis was on mechanism design in two-sided markets, a step toward embedding mechanism design in larger economies.

Beyond academic settings, I have held industry research positions at institutions such as the European Space Agency’s Advanced Concepts Team, IBM Research Kenya, and ARM’s System Design Division. I care about translating research into applications and have an interest in entrepreneurship. I have participated in the Entrepreneur First incubator programme, developed a “lean”-type business during my PhD, and more recently co-founded an electronics startup, now post-revenue.

I am head of ASciNA Greater Boston and previously served as president of the Oxford University Austrian Society.