Bio of Bernardo Huberman

by Moya K. Mason

Bernardo Huberman
Bernardo Huberman

Bernardo Huberman is an HP Fellow at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, where he heads a research effort in Information Dynamics. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a Consulting Professor in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford University.

Dr. Huberman is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a former trustee of the Aspen Center for Physics, and a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He is co-winner of the 1990 CECOIA prize in Economics and Artificial Intelligence and he recently shared the IBM Prize of the Society for Computational Economics. He was also the Chairman of the Council of Fellows at Xerox Corporation and the manager of the Internet Ecologies Group. Huberman has held visiting professorships at the University of Paris, the University of Copenhagen, and the European School of Business.

Huberman was on SafeWeb's privacy advisory board along with Lawrence Lessig, Lewis Maltby, and others. SafeWeb was founded in April 2000 to create innovative privacy and security technologies for consumers and businesses.

He is a prolific writer, with more than 200 published articles to his credit, as well as The Laws of the Web: Patterns in the Ecology of Information from MIT Press.

He holds a number of patents, including those for Method for Enabling Privacy and Trust in Electronic Communities, Adaptive Multiagent Control System for Controlling Object Motion with Smart Matter, and Method and System for Providing a Document Service Over a Computer Network Using an Automated Brokered Auction.

Some of His Contributions

  1. Dr. Huberman is one of the creators of the field of ecology of computation, and editor of a book on the subject.
  2. he has made contributions to the theory of critical phenomena in low dimensional systems
  3. he is one of the discoverers of chaos in a number of physical systems
  4. he also established a number of universal properties in non-linear dynamical systems
  5. his research into the dynamics of complex structures led to his discovery of ultra-diffusion in hierarchical systems
  6. he predicted the existence of phase transitions in artificial intelligence and large-scale distributed systems
  7. he developed an economics approach to the solution of hard computational problems, which is also useful in reducing the latencies experienced when downloading pages of the Internet
  8. in 1989, his team designed and implemented Spawn, a market system for the allocation of idle resources among machines in computer networks, and a few years later, a multi-agent thermal market mechanism for the control of building environments

Huberman also uncovered the nature of electronic markets. He is also the designer of novel ways of enhancing privacy and trust in e-commerce and in electronic communities through his research of the growth and use of the Internet.

Some Interesting Work Connected to Smart Mobs

1. In Free Riding on Gnutella, Huberman and Adar argue that free riding plays a significant role on Gnutella, which makes the system more vulnerable and leads to degradation of performance. They say that since healthy communities depend on broad participation, this does not bode well for file sharing communities.

Note: Clay Shirky in his "In Praise of Freeloaders" contends that attempts to prevent freeloading are usually framed in terms of preventing users from behaving selfishly, but selfishness is a key lubricant in P2P systems. In fact, selfishness is what makes the resources used by P2P available in the first place.

2. In Beliefs and Cooperation, Huberman and Glance contend that people in groups often choose between acting selfishly and cooperating for the common good. How an individual ultimately chooses is based on how they expect their actions to affect others. The authors show that for a broad set of beliefs and group characteristics, cooperation can appear spontaneously in non-cooperative groups after very long periods of time. When delays in information are unavoidable, the possibility of sustained cooperation is excluded.

3. In Social Dilemmas and Internet Congestion, Huberman and Lukose state that since the Internet is a public good and its numerous users are not charged in proportion to their use, it appears rational for individuals to consume bandwidth greedily while thinking that their actions have little effect on the overall performance of the Internet. Because every individual can reason this way, the Internet's performance can degrade considerably, making everyone worse off.

4. In Enhancing Privacy and Trust in Electronic Communities, Huberman and associates report that a major impediment to using recommendation systems and collective knowledge for electronic commerce is the reluctance of individuals to reveal preferences in order to find groups of people that share them. An equally important barrier to fluid electronic commerce is the lack of agreed upon trusted third parties. The authors propose new non-third party mechanisms to overcome these barriers. Their solutions facilitate finding shared preferences, discovering communities with shared values, removing disincentives posed by liabilities, negotiating on behalf of a group, and using known techniques from the cryptographic literature to enable these new capabilities.

5. In A Market for Secrets, Huberman and Adar propose an electronic market system for private data that guarantees levels of privacy, anonymity, and control to individuals while maintaining the ability of other entities to mine their information and automatically pay individuals for their data. They also describe a novel procedure that allows data miners to anonymously contact the creators of information in case their profiles are needed for future research.

Related Papers

Short History of Barcodes
Management of Reputation Using Collaborative Filtering
Short History of Collaborative Filtering
Freenet File Sharing
Gnutella File Sharing
Early History and Media Coverage of Webraska
Early History of Napster
Notes on RFID Technology, 2001
What is Mojo Nation?

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