Rakesh Vohra

Rakesh Vohra is the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor, Professor of Economics, Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Co-Director of the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences. With appointments in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Vohra works at the intersection of economics, systems engineering, computer science and business.

Economics, Systems Engineering & Business

rakesh vohra

The sheer variety and scope of experimentation in the networked economy are a treasure trove of insight for Rakesh Vohra. An economist and systems engineer, Vohra pioneers new ways to design effective markets for diverse purposes such as the power grid, online advertising, wireless spectrum access and the allocation of donor kidneys. Innovation of this type at the intersection of engineering and the social sciences, using vast data sets, inspires Vohra’s research and his presence on campus as a catalyst for collaboration.

As he investigates ways to structure diverse markets with meaningful incentives, Vohra develops new methods to insure against unpredictable risks and resolve technological constraints. He is best known for his work on forecasting in low informational environments and his many contributions to the economic field of mechanism design. Vohra publishes in EconometricaBiometrikaJournal of Computer and System SciencesMathematics of Operations Research and Mathematical Programming. He has written three books about pricing, mechanism design and mathematical economics.

Vohra joined Penn’s faculty in 2013 to co-direct Penn’s then-new Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences, a hub for research and innovation in interconnected social, economic and technological systems. He has since helped the Warren Center launch a vibrant speaker series and select and advise its first set of postdoctoral fellows. Through the Warren Center’s initial wave of grant proposals, Vohra and co-director Michael Kearns are cultivating this incubator for discovery, mapping out research aims that require data-centric minds and methods from diverse fields such as economics, sociology, psychology, astronomy, neuroscience, law, communications and engineering. Vohra also teaches undergraduates integrated approaches to the networks, economies and markets of the future through the Networked & Social Systems Engineering Program, which began in 2011. This first of its type program focuses on technologies such as the Internet, social networks such as Facebook, and financial networks such as interbank lending markets.

Vohra’s current research explores ways to allocate wireless communication spectrum, re-design energy markets to account for the intermittency of renewable power sources, and evaluate systemic risk in financial markets.

  • mechanism design

  • game theory

  • auction theory

  • pricing theory

  • operations research

  • market systems

  • optimal pricing mechanisms


Principles of Pricing: An Analytical Approach, 2012 (co-author Lakshman Krishnamurthi)

Advanced Mathematical Economics, 2005

Mechanism Design: A Linear Programming Approach, 2011

Academic Publications (Selected)

Optimal Auctions with Financially Constrained Buyers, Journal of Economic Theory, 2013 (with M. Pai).

Optimal Dynamic Auctions,  Mathematics of Operations Research, 2013(with M. Pai).

Assignment of Arrival Slots, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2013 (with J. Schummer).

Complexity of Allocation Problems in Spectrum Markets with Interference Complementarities, IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 31, 2013, (with Hang Zhou, Randall A. Berry, Michael L. Honig).

For a complete list of recent publications visit Vohra's personal page.

Articles (Selected)

"Why You Should Care About Game Theory," Pacific Standard, May 12, 2015

"What Exactly Is 'Game Theory'," BBC News, February 18, 2015

Blogs (Selected)

"Sargent's Graduation Speech," The Leisure of the Theory Class, April 21, 2014

"Markets for Guinea Pigs," The Leisure of the Theory Class, March 29, 2014

"Nobel Designs," Kellog Insight, November 1, 2007

Interviews & Features (Selected)

"Should I Bring An Umbrella," Kellog Insight, Northwestern University, November 1, 2011

"Principles of Pricing," Kellog Insight, Northwestern University, February 1, 2013

Videos (Selected)

"Linear Programming and Mechanism Design, Part I," November 1, 2012 [lecture]

"Linear Programming and Mechanism Design, Part 2," November 1, 2012 [lecture]

Press Releases (Selected)

"Launching the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences at Penn," The Almanac, October 22, 2013

"Rakest Vohra Appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor", Penn News, May 29, 2013

George A. Weiss


“The way to ensure the continued greatness of Penn is to invest in the people. With this program, we're going to recruit even more superstar faculty and catapult this University to a new level of eminence."  

- George A. Weiss 

In 2010, George Weiss,W'65, HON'14, together with his wife, Lydia, endowed four Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, adding to his extensive philanthropic legacy of support for Penn's highest priorities. George Weiss is a University of Pennsylvania Trustee Emeritus and a member of the Executive Committee of the Penn Medicine Board. He is a 1985 recipient of the Alumni Award of Merit, the University's highest alumni honor. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Pennsylvania.  

  • Karen Glanz was appointed the George A. Weiss University Professor in June 2009.
  • Dorothy Roberts was appointed the George A. Weiss University Professor in April 2012.
  • Rakesh Vohra was appointed the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor in May 2013.
  • Aviv Nevo was appointed the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor in January 2016.
  • B.Sc. (Hon), University College London (Mathematics)
  • M.Sc., London School of Economics (Operational Research)
  • Ph.D., University of Maryland (Mathematics)


University Service
Additional Penn Profiles

Penn Arts & Sciences
451 McNeil Building, 3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898.6777 (o)