Founded in 1991, the Hebrew University’s Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality is a unique venture in which faculty, students, and guests join forces to explore the rational basis of decision-making. Coming from a broad sweep of departments — mathematics, economics, psychology, biology, education, computer science, philosophy, business, statistics, and law — its members apply game-theoretic tools to examine the processes by which individuals seeking the path of maximum benefit respond to real-world situations where individuals with different goals interact.
Largely inspired by the pioneering work of Professors Robert John Aumann (Nobel Laureate in Economics 2005) and Menahem Yaari (former President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities), the range of the Center’s scientific activity is unparalleled in the world. Most interdisciplinary centers aim to promote cooperation between researchers in two or three different fields, whereas the Center for Rationality is a truly multidisciplinary enterprise, drawing on the talents of outstanding scholars from ten different departments in four faculties of the University.
The richness of perspective of all the disciplines represented by Center members is a vital aspect of the Center’s mission: to explore models that describe interactive decision-making as it occurs in every one of these disciplines, and beyond. Through its workshops and conferences, the Center challenges academics to break free from the governing rubrics of their individual specialties and, instead, to direct their gaze toward the wider horizon of interactive dynamics.
As of the 2005-06 academic year the Center opened a Ph.D. Program for Excellent Students: taking specially designed courses that are offered by the Center, the students accepted to the program are the best from all the institutions of higher learning in Israel and from all the disciplines represented by Center members.