Drawing on techniques from operations, computer science, economics and statistics, Scott Rodilitz produces research that optimizes online platforms to support public- and civic-sector decision makers. “I build data-driven models of large stochastic systems to shed light on how organizations can harness the power of crowdsourcing and platform-based markets,” he says.
“My research is motivated in part by a collaboration with Food Rescue US,” says Rodilitz, who worked with the organization to hone its strategy for connecting volunteers with donations. Food Rescue US, which curbs hunger and food waste in communities nationwide, faced fundamental design challenges related to notification systems and platform growth that Rodilitz was able to help meet with a forward-thinking, location-specific algorithm.
The experience led Rodilitz to research how an organization might best influence volunteers to engage with their app. “Excessive notifications may overwhelm volunteers,” he says. The platform faces a trade-off between notifying more volunteers about immediate needs or waiting to send notifications until later needs arise. “As one way to reduce uncertainty about future needs,” Rodilitz says, “platforms frequently use a commitment lever known as ‘adoption,’ which can have double-edged impacts on volunteer engagement. We studied how platforms can balance an increase in match certainty with a potential decrease in engagement.”
Rodilitz spent a summer as a research science intern at Lyft and, before pursuing his Ph.D., taught mathematics at Kingswood Oxford School. He has been a coach as well as a teacher and, outside his professional research, he pursues a range of athletic activities, such as soccer and trail running. In 2021, he was a post-doctoral researcher with a joint appointment at Stanford and Yale. Having grown up in Redondo Beach, California, he returned to the West Coast to join the UCLA Anderson faculty as an assistant professor in 2022.
Ph.D. Operations, 2021, Yale University School of Management
B.A. Mathematics and Economics (Magna Cum Laude), 2013, Williams College