Betsy Hilliard

Elizabeth "Betsy" Hilliard

I am a fifth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at Brown University. I am being advised by Dr. Amy Greenwald.

My CV: [pdf]

Contact Information

  • I'm on Twitter
  • Email: betsy[at]cs [dot]brown[dot]edu
  • Office: CIT 451
  • Box 1910, Computer Science Department
  • Brown University
  • 115 Waterman St.
  • Providence, RI 02912

Current Research Interests

My research interests sit at the intersection of economics and computer science as seen in areas such as game theory, multi-agent games, mechanism design and behavioral economics. Currently, we are developing and analyzing an agent bidding strategy for the TAC AdX competitions. We are also thinking about measuring entertainment and the effects of draft mechanisms in Fantasy Football.

I am particularly interested in how to communicate the intricacies of human preferences to autonomous agents working on their behalf, how agents can develop models of human strategy, and how allowing agents to transfer goods to each other changes behavior and outcomes in games.


Elizabeth Hilliard, Amy Greenwald, and Victor Naroditskiy. An Algorithm for the Penalized Multiple Choice Knapsack Problem. European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI 2014), August 2014.

Eric Sodomka, Elizabeth Hilliard, Amy Greenwald, and Michael Littman. Coco-Q: Learning in Stochastic Games with Side Payments. The 30th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2013), June 2013.

Thomas Goff, Amy Greenwald, Elizabeth Hilliard, Wolfgang Ketter and Eric Sodomka. JACK: A Java Auction Configuration Kit. AAMAS-12 Workshop on Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce (AMEC) and Trading Agent Design and Analysis (TADA), June 2012.
Download: [pdf]

Posters and Presentations

Optimization for Keyword Search Auctions. INFORMS, Nov. 2014. Presentation: [pdf]

An Algorithm for the Penalized Multiple Choice Knapsack Problem. European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014. Poster: [pdf]

Coco-Q: Learning in Stochastic Games with Side Payments. Cambridge Area Economics and Computer Science Day, April 2013; New England Machine Learning Day, May 2013; The 30th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2013), June 2013. Poster: [pdf] Presentation: [link to video]

JACK: A Java Auction Configuration Kit. Workshop on Trading Agent Design and Analysis, at AAMAS 2012. Valencia, Spain.


Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence cs141, Spring 2013, Fall 2014

Developed course materials including weekly assignments and exam questions; taught five lectures.

Sheridan Teaching Center, Certificate I

Completed a year-long introductory teaching certificate from Brown's Sheridan Center for Teaching.

Guest Lecture on Java SWING, cs18

Taught introductory programming students about Java's GUI package, SWING, through an interactive design and development demonstration.

Professional Service

Brown CS Diversity Committe

I serve as one of the graduate students on the Brown CS Diversity committee and have helped plan events such as our Distinguished Lecture series, outreach through Hour of Code in a local middle school and organizing our diversity conference scholarships.

Women in CS (WiCS) Mentoring

I mentor masters and undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree and/or doing research.

PhD Recruitment

I served as a Recruitment Czar (in charge of organizing and running the PhD student recruitment weekend and process) for the 2012 and 2013 recruitment seasons.


I graduated from Brandeis University in 2011 where I double majored in Computer Science and Economics. While there I was an undergraduate teaching assistant for the introductory programming course in C and JAVA. I also took a healthy serving of math and history courses.

I spent a semester abroad at the University of St Andrews, in St Andrews, Scotland, studying economics, especially auctions for innovation stimulation.

St Andrews

Internship Research

I spent the summer of 2014 interning with Ayman Farahat at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, CA. While there I was collecting and analyzing data on how individuals play Fantasy Football.

I spent three summers interning with Dr. David Vogt and Colleen Rizy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the Regional Studies Program in the Environmental Sciences Division. My projects included research on improper payments in the Government Student Loan system, improving a regional recruiting assesment tool for Army National Guard and collecting and analyzing economic and social metrics of the 300 largest cities in the United States in order to determine what metrics might be useful in predicting which cities would successfully emerge from the Great Recession.

Other Things

CPLEX and Eclipse and Java

I have worked up notes on using CPLEX and Eclipse and Java together because I can never remember what I'm supposed to do and new students sometimes have trouble getting started. This is specifically for the Brown CS system, but could be helpful more generally.

Wikipedia: Knapsack Problem

I contribute to the Wikipedia site for the Knapsack Problem.

Computer Science: a.k.a. cool, huge, real-world problems

I think that problem solving is the gateway to computer science for many students. It was for me at least. I'm working on a collection of resources and a set of slides that I think are a great way of catching the interest of students who aren't interested in programming or computer games. A work in progress is here, and I welcome suggestions.


Two names, 1 person. I'm legally and professionally Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Betsy. I promise it's a legitimate nickname.

Other Interests

I also have other interests, if you are interested.