In 2014, Procaccia launched the not-for-profit website "Spliddit," which creates provably fair solutions to help people divide anything from cab fare to football tickets. To date, the site has attracted more than 160,000 users. Procaccia and his team developed most of the algorithms used on the site, including the one used for the most popular application — rent division.
"He is a deep mathematician with an uncanny instinct for turning theoretical results into concrete methods for solving real-world problems," said Herve Moulin, a professor of economics at the University of Glasgow who nominated Procaccia for the award. "Ariel's recent work on liquid democracy, on redistricting to avoid gerrymandering and on statistical approaches to voting continue to open new directions where social choice can and probably will develop soon."
Fair division has been "a very theoretical area since it started in the 40s," Procaccia said. "What's special about Spliddit is that it's getting these algorithms out there and getting people to actually use them."
The award, presented every two years by the Society for Social Choice and Welfare, has primarily recognized economists. Procaccia said it is significant that the community is looking closer at the role of computer science in fair division.
"People realize there's a lot computer scientists can contribute to these discussions," Procaccia said, "and the fact that these things are getting applied is drawing people in and bringing excitement."