179 research outputs found

    Voluntary Commitments Lead to Efficiency

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    Consider an agent (manager,artist, etc.) who has imperfect private information about his productivity. At the beginning of his career (period 1, “short run”), the agent chooses among publicly observable actions that generate imperfect signals of his productivity. The actions can be ranked according to the informativeness of the signals they generate. The market observes the agent’s action and the signal generated by it, and pays a wage equal to his expected productivity. In period 2 (the “long run”), the agent chooses between a constant payoff and a wage proportional to his true productivity, and the game ends. We show that in any equilibrium where not all types of the agent choose the same action, the average productivity of an agent choosing a less informative action is greater. However, the types choosing that action are not uniformly higher. In particular, we derive conditions for the existence of a tripartite equilibrium where low and high types pool on a less informative action while medium (on average, lower) types choose to send a more informative signal.signalling, career concerns

    Noise-Tolerant Learning, the Parity Problem, and the Statistical Query Model

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    We describe a slightly sub-exponential time algorithm for learning parity functions in the presence of random classification noise. This results in a polynomial-time algorithm for the case of parity functions that depend on only the first O(log n log log n) bits of input. This is the first known instance of an efficient noise-tolerant algorithm for a concept class that is provably not learnable in the Statistical Query model of Kearns. Thus, we demonstrate that the set of problems learnable in the statistical query model is a strict subset of those problems learnable in the presence of noise in the PAC model. In coding-theory terms, what we give is a poly(n)-time algorithm for decoding linear k by n codes in the presence of random noise for the case of k = c log n loglog n for some c > 0. (The case of k = O(log n) is trivial since one can just individually check each of the 2^k possible messages and choose the one that yields the closest codeword.) A natural extension of the statistical query model is to allow queries about statistical properties that involve t-tuples of examples (as opposed to single examples). The second result of this paper is to show that any class of functions learnable (strongly or weakly) with t-wise queries for t = O(log n) is also weakly learnable with standard unary queries. Hence this natural extension to the statistical query model does not increase the set of weakly learnable functions

    Usability of Humanly Computable Passwords

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    Reusing passwords across multiple websites is a common practice that compromises security. Recently, Blum and Vempala have proposed password strategies to help people calculate, in their heads, passwords for different sites without dependence on third-party tools or external devices. Thus far, the security and efficiency of these "mental algorithms" has been analyzed only theoretically. But are such methods usable? We present the first usability study of humanly computable password strategies, involving a learning phase (to learn a password strategy), then a rehearsal phase (to login to a few websites), and multiple follow-up tests. In our user study, with training, participants were able to calculate a deterministic eight-character password for an arbitrary new website in under 20 seconds