PhD Defence: Clearing Barter Exchange Markets – Kidney Exchange and Beyond

Kristiaan Glorie’s dissertation develops market clearing algorithms to improve clearing in real-life barter exchange markets, with significant attention paid to the scalability of said algorithms. Kristiaan’s contribution is founded on the premise that advanced, IT-enabled, smart markets are an enduring feature in modern society. With a focus on kidney exchange markets, Glorie develops algorithms which seek to alleviate the acute shortage of donors and improve the health of patients.

Kristiaan defended his dissertation in the Senate Hall at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, 27 November 2014. His supervisors were Professor Albert Wagelmans and Professor Joris van de Klundert. Other members of the Doctoral Committee included Professor Willem Weimar, Professor Ana Viana, and Doctor David Manlove

About Kristiaan Glorie

Kristiaan Glorie (1987) holds a cum laude bachelor's and cum laude master's degree in Econometrics and Management Science from Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2010 he started his PhD research at the Econometric Institute in the Erasmus School of Economics. Kristiaan has served as the PhD representative to the board of the Dutch network on the Mathematics of Operations Research (2011 and 2012) and, in the summer of 2013, he has been a visiting researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Kristiaan's research interests are at the intersection of Operations Research and Mechanism Design. He is particularly interested in the theory and application of combinatorial optimization problems involving uncertainty and human interaction. In addition to his research on barter exchange markets such as kidney exchanges, he has collaborated with other researchers to investigate route planning of unmanned aerial vehicles, management of sterile inventory and research facilities allocation.

Kristiaan has published in several of the leading journals in his field, including Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Computers & Operations Research, Transplantation, and Transplant International. He has presented his research at various international conferences, including IFORS, MATCH-UP, INFORMS Healthcare, and OR2013, as well as the national conferences of the Dutch transplant foundation and the Dutch network on the Mathematics of Operations Research. For the third chapter of this thesis, he has been awarded the second price in the 2013 Student Research Paper Contest in the Healthcare Applications Section of INFORMS.

After having finished his PhD trajectory, Kristiaan will start as an assistant professor in combinatorial optimization at the Department of Mathematics at the VU University Amsterdam. He will continue to work on combinatorial optimization problems and to apply his research in practice.

Thesis Abstract

Advanced computer assisted markets, otherwise known as smart markets, are becoming an important part of our modern society. This dissertation considers smart barter exchange markets, which enable people to trade a wide range of goods: from shifts, to houses, to kidneys. Centralized and computerized clearing is what makes these markets ‘smart’. The market clearing problem is to match demand and supply so as to maximize the gains of trade. Trades, in this regard, need not be limited to pairwise swaps but may consist of trading cycles and chains involving multiple agents.

This dissertation presents several sophisticated market clearing algorithms that enable optimal clearing in large real-life barter exchange markets. With a particular focus on kidney exchanges, it shows how these algorithms can enable a significant alleviation of the present shortage of kidney donors and an improvement in health outcomes for kidney patients. State-of-the-art techniques are developed to allow the algorithms to be scalable, even when there are bounds on the number of simultaneous transactions, multiple objective criteria, and side constraints. Furthermore, innovative models and solution approaches are presented to allow market uncertainty, such as transaction failure, to be taken into account.

The research presented in this dissertation contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge in combinatorial optimization and market design, particularly in the domains of mathematical programming and market clearing, and aids the establishment and operation of smart barter exchange markets in the field of kidney exchange and beyond.

Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images