Monday, October 15, 2012

The life of David Gale

Today is a day to congratulate Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd Shapley, who are the 2012 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. Their work in matching theory, along with Roth's success in real-world applications, is both important and fascinating. Alex Tabarrok has a full breakdown of why their work is so important.

A name that won't be counted on the list of Nobel Prize winners is David Gale, who died in 2008. Gale was Shapley's partner in the landmark 1962 paper that introduced the Gale-Shapley algorithm, but the deceased can not be nominated for the Nobel Prize and as a result Gale is not eligible to receive the award.

I have not read any official statement saying that Gale would have received the award if he had survived another four years, but the case looks pretty clear. I've had a lot of fun reading about the wonderful benefits to humanity Roth and Shapley have brought with their work, and I just want to make sure Mr. Gale is not overlooked by the public. These are mathematicians and economists who saved peoples lives.

Rest in peace David, your work is not forgotten.

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