Thesis Committee for Ahmed Abdelmeged

This is the second version, one year later than the first version. We give the rationale for the final thesis committee selection.

  1. Completed PhD Thesis :

    Organizing Computational Problem Solving Communities via Collusion Resilient Semantic Game Tournaments

  2. Description:

    Ahmed Abdelmeged's dissertation has been completed with the help of the Comprehensive exam committee.

    Advisor's Evaluation

    The final version of the dissertation has been checked by the advisor who provides the following advisor intro: Ahmed Abdelmeged's dissertation.

    It is the advisor's opinion that the dissertation is outstanding because of the amount of abstraction and invention that had to be accomplished given the sea of game data from synthetic semantic games. Discovering the right definitions and theorems and proving them can be done only by a few PhD students. The notion of collusion resilience, to prevent malicious attacks, seems to be new in Social Choice Theory.

    Same Goal -- Better Tools

    The thesis was from the beginning about organizing problem solving communities but in the last few months there was a marked shift to a new way of understanding this organization problem: using an axiomatic approach which is common in Social Choice Theory. This shift has challenged the comprehensive exam committee. That is why we need additional man power on the thesis committee to give Ahmed's dissertation a fair final evaluation.

    Need for Additional Member

    Thomas Wahl has indicated several months ago that he would like to have Ravi Sundaram on the committee. I have taken that advice seriously and given Ravi summaries on what Ahmed is doing through the past year. It was Ravi who brought the connection to Social Choice Theory to our attention. Ravi also judged the ``interestingness'' of Ahmed's results.

    Ravi has graciously agreed to serve on the committee and check the crucial chapter 4. The reasons for chosing Ravi are: Ravi knows about social choice theory, game theory, and tournaments. He knows about a lot of different computational problems which could be all represented in our system. Ravi knows the connections between algorithms, logical sentences and their Skolem functions and semantic games.

    The Comprehensive Committee members have made significant contributions to the current and final draft. For example, Yizhou Sun suggested synthetic avatars (debaters) which eventually triggered the abstraction of collusion resilience. But the synthetic avatars and the experimental results they created have been removed from the dissertation.

    We had several meetings also with Casper Harteveld where he gave important guidance. Casper published a recent paper on "The research and evaluation of serious games: Toward a comprehensive methodology" in the British Journal of Educational Technology in 2014. Ahmed's work has grown up in the educational domain where we designed dozens of labs (serious games) for both undergraduate and graduate classes. The tradeoff issues that Ahmed mentions in chapter 3 beautifully summarize much of our serious game design experiences. It is very good to have Casper on board although the evaluation in Ahmed's dissertation turned theoretical. But the theory is used to explain why our system works well (in the class room).

  3. Thesis Committee

    Casper Harteveld (external member, Assistant Professor of Game Design, College of Arts, Media and Design, NEU).

    A short description of his work is on the above home page.

    Ravi Sundaram

    Thomas Wahl

    Karl Lieberherr (advisor)

  4. Advisor's statement on selection of Comprehensive Exam Committee

    Ahmed's dissertation brings together three areas: (1) Social choice theory (axiomatic treatment of ranking functions for tournaments of side-choosing games) (Ravi Sundaram) (2) Programming languages and formal methods (declarative programming for the global brain using generalized semantic games) (Thomas Wahl), (3) Game design for serious games, educational perspective (Casper Harteveld).

    -- Karl Lieberherr, April 16, 2014.