Bridging Divides: Our Journey from MD4SG to EAAMO

An interview with EAAMO’s new Executive Director

5 min readMar 5, 2024

At last year’s ACM Conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanism and Optimization (EAAMO 2023), we announced an important change to the name as well as the structure of our organization, Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG).

Though our initial focus was on harnessing mechanism design techniques to address societal challenges, as our work expanded, it became clear that our name needed to encompass the broader range of methodologies including algorithms, mechanisms, and optimization, which play an equally important role in our work.

Our new organization, called EAAMO, will consist of two key units. While the EAAMO Conference series will continue to serve as a publication venue and a focal point of bridging research to practice in our community, EAAMO Bridges embodies our commitment to sustained, collaborative research efforts aimed at tackling issues of equity and access. Both of these units will be organized and operated under EAAMO, a newly formed non-profit umbrella organization under the leadership of Sera Linardi, our inaugural Executive Director.

An organizational structure showing two entities (EAAMO Conference, and EAAMO Bridges, formerly MD4SG) under the umbrella non-profit EAAMO organization

The transformation from MD4SG to EAAMO reflects a pivotal evolution in our organization’s mission and scope.

Our new name, EAAMO, reflects not just a diversification of techniques, but also a sharpening of our mission to focus on improving equity and access to opportunity for marginalized communities. We’ve moved beyond the singular goal of working towards social good to include achieving equity and access within our objectives.

Furthermore, rebranding MD4SG to EAAMO is an essential step to align our organization’s identity with its evolved mission. It allows us to remain true to our core values while embracing a broader set of tools and goals. The choice to operate under the EAAMO umbrella serves several purposes. It allows us to leverage the brand equity we’ve built via our flagship conference, ensuring continuity and recognition in our community. At the same time, it signals our commitment to a more inclusive and comprehensive approach that harnesses the social sciences as well as computational tools for societal benefit.

At the helm of this transformative journey is Sera Linardi, EAAMO’s inaugural executive director, whose vision and leadership are set to chart a new course for the community. In an exclusive interview, Linardi shares insights into the genesis of her involvement with MD4SG, the unique ethos of EAAMO, and her ambitious plans for the organization’s future.

An image of Sera Linardi, leaning against a window frame, wearing a bright orange top.

From foundations to frontiers

Linardi’s journey with MD4SG began serendipitously in 2018, shortly after achieving tenure.

“I was completely amazed that a group of PhD students just got together and decided to start something so necessary and ambitious,” she reflects on her initial attraction to MD4SG.

Her engagement deepened through a collaborative effort with MD4SG’s co-founder — Rediet Abebe, by co-leading one of the main working groups focused on inequality. In the group, Sera (together with Sam Taggart), blended experimental economics with theoretical computer science to study inequalities in society, culminating in a conference tutorial. This collaboration not only showcased the potential of interdisciplinary work but also firmly hooked her onto the group’s mission.

A unique community: The essence of EAAMO

When asked about what makes EAAMO stand out, Linardi emphasizes the community’s commitment to examining and challenging existing power structures.

“EAAMO is unique because it is a community of computational researchers and social science researchers that are willing to question assumptions in our fields, and nurture safe communities where historically marginalized viewpoints can be explored rigorously.”

This ethos underpins EAAMO’s dedication to fostering equity and access through a critical examination of theoretical and technical tools.

Leading with vision: The role of inaugural Executive Director

Taking on the role of inaugural executive director was a decision deeply rooted in Linardi’s personal and professional journeys.

Drawing parallels between her upbringing around practical public service and her academic pursuits, she recounts, “EAAMO speaks to the core journey of my life. It reconciles the vast chasm between growing up around practical public service as the kid of a family doctor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the theory-driven academic career that follows my PhD in Social Science from Caltech”.

Her experience founding the Center for Analytical Approaches to Social Innovation (CAASI) at the University of Pittsburgh, aimed at co-designing data-oriented projects with community members, provided a solid foundation for tackling broader issues of engagement and multidisciplinarity on a larger scale with EAAMO.

Looking Ahead: Priorities and Vision for EAAMO

Linardi outlines a clear plan for her tenure, focusing on articulating EAAMO’s novel approach to integrating equity and access through research in algorithms, mechanisms, and optimization. Her strategy includes aligning the organization’s programming and infrastructure to support these goals while building on the strong foundation laid by its founders and previous leadership.

Her vision for EAAMO over the next five years is ambitious yet grounded in the organization’s core values.

She envisions EAAMO as “an integrated living organism in which each component — working groups, conferences, and peer support programs — works synergistically to elevate the perspectives of historically underserved communities in rigorous research”.

Shaping the Future Together

Under Linardi’s leadership, and within the structure of the new nonprofit EAAMO organization, we are poised to advance our mission more effectively than ever. Her leadership and vision will be instrumental in steering the organization towards its goal of fostering a more equitable and accessible computational research landscape. Thanks to Linardi’s shared vision, the transformation to EAAMO is not just a rebranding but a recommitment to our values, allowing us to expand our impact and continue to innovate at the intersection of technology and social good.

EAAMO invites you to contribute to our mission to improve access to opportunity for historically underserved and disadvantaged communities. Please fill out this form and we will reach out to you with ways to engage with our community.




EAAMO is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary initiative working to improve global access to opportunity. Learn more at