The Greek MIT Professor Who Solved Nash’s Puzzle

constantinos-daskalakisConstantinos Daskalakis is one of the smartest people on Earth, one of the most bright and analytical minds, the Einstein of our time. At the age of 27 years he was appointed Associate Professor at MIT, while today, only three years later he has received world-class recognition after solving John Forbes Nash’s puzzle which had troubled scientists for over 60 years.

Daskalakis was born and raised in Athens, but both his parents originated from the island of Crete. He graduated from the National Technical University of Athens and then continued his postgraduate doctoral studies at the University of Berkeley.

He is an affable, gracious, down to earth man who was not affected by the fact that he rose to fame at such a young age. At the age of 27, Daskalakis was able to solve a puzzle that arose from Nash’s work, who showed an important mathematical theorem that attempts to characterize what we expect to occur in gambling. A betting game is the mathematical model of a conflict between people and it can represent a poker game, an auction or even the entire market. Every game involved several people, each with a purpose who want to have some gain.

Nash tried to understand if we can predict what will happen in the conflict before it occurs. So he gave an elegant mathematical definition, now called Nash equilibrium, about what happens in a game depending on its characteristics. However, he did not provide a relevant algorithm. He made a mathematical conjecture about what happens in games, but he did not provide a computational tool, which can be used to predict what will happen in advance. Since 1950, when Nash revealed his theorem, economists have been trying to find calculation algorithm. “What we have demonstrated is something that the scientific community was not expecting. There is no such algorithm,” said Daskalakis.

The Greek MIT professor works with five PhD students, one of whom comes from Greece. He often reminisces about his country. “I am a Greek, my whole family is there,” but when asked if he would ever go back for work he responded: “I would not go back. I wouldn’t be happy due to the current situation.”

“I feel sad for what is happening in Greece. I am trying to offer what I can from my position. I help Greek students fulfill their dreams,” he added.



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