Yifan Wu

PhD student at Northwestern University

About Me

Hi, I’m Yifan!

I’m a fourth year PhD student at Northwestern University. I’m advised by Prof. Jason Hartline. I received my B.S. in Computer Science from Peking University in 2020, where I worked with Prof. Yuqing Kong.

I have a broad interest in theoretical computer science and economics. Currently, I work on data economics, and specifically on algorithmic acquisition and evaluation of information, under a statistical decision theory framework.

My Research

Information evaluation and acquisition are closely related problems, and both are critical to modern algorithm design. On the acquisition side, I design optimal acquisition mechanisms for costly information. My previous papers are on optimal scoring rules for high-quality information elicitation. Here, scoring rules are a class of mechanism that acquires truthful information on an uncertain state with access to the state. Scoring rules do not just serve as mechanisms for information acquisition; on the evaluation side, they are also proper metrics for information value under statistical decision theory. I design algorithmic information evaluation schemes from this economic perspective, by looking at the value of information in improving decision with uncertainty.

My work has applications in machine learning and human computer interaction (HCI). In machine learning, I’m working on evaluation of text via language models, and also on evaluation of predictions, e.g. understanding the value of calibration from a decision-making perspective. In HCI, my work evaluates information communicated to human, e.g. the value of data visualization and explainable AI.


I’m co-organizing the EC ‘24 Workshop on Information Acquisition. Calling for posters now🔥