Title: Information Revelation in a Competitive World
Advisors: Anna Karlin and Shayan Oveis Gharan
Abstract: Consider a company working to develop a new technology, or a mathematician seeking to prove a theorem. We consider the question of when such a utility maximizing agent (the company or the mathematician) should reveal partial progress. On the one hand, filing for a patent on a limited technology or publishing an intermediate result yields payoff to the agent. On the other hand, it allows the agent’s competitors to catch up and build on the agent’s progress to date, potentially getting in the way of the agent obtaining a far higher reward later. To study this question, we define a stylized model of competition between two agents, in which the strategic decision for each agent is when to reveal partial progress. For a special case, we characterize the set of Nash equilibrium strategies.