Thursday, 03 June 2021

Press Release – International Digital Conference "The Promise of Computational Competition Law and Economics"

Subject: International Digital Conference "The Promise of Computational Competition Law and Economics: issues, perspectives»

The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has successfully held, on Monday 24 May, the well-attended International Digital Conference "The Promise of Computational Competition Law and Economics: Issues, Prospects", co-organised by the HCC and the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Center and supported by the Journal of Competition Law and Economics; a milestone event for the international competition community as it was attended by key experts in Competition Law and in Computational - Artificial Intelligence from around the world.

The introductory remarks were addressed by the President of the HCC, Ioannis Lianos, and the Director of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre, Alexey IvanovIoannis Lianos noted that, in the last 20 months, the HCC has made a leap forward regarding its technological-digital structure while it is becoming a leader, among the EU Competition Authorities, in the use of computational means in its investigations, already designing and implementing its own data collection platform. He spoke about the strategic transformation of the HCC so that it can adequately meet the new circumstances, increasing its effectiveness through the use of new techniques stemming from computational means. In addition, he presented an "inception" report entitled "Computational Competition Law and Economics - An Inception Report".

The Report, directed by the President of the HCC, Ioannis Lianos, is the result of the cooperation of ΗCC’s staff with a team of scientists acting as external experts for the HCC and a team of the Brics Competition Law and Policy Centre. It examines the impact of the use of Big Data, AI, machine learning, deep learning in competition law enforcement and is the first detailed report published by the HCC on this topic, which was welcomed by all the conference attendees. In addition, the HCC, as part of a selected group of antitrust and competition agencies, participates in the international network for Computational Competition Law, hosted by the US Stanford University Codex Center.

For his part, Alexey Ivanov, underlined the importance of the conference as a hub for exchanging views between representatives from different competition authorities around the world and the academic community on such crucial issues as those concerning the digital transformation of NCAs with the aim of speeding up investigations to allow a more effective functioning of markets. "There already exist national authorities using advanced technological methods in investigations and competition law enforcement."

The first panel on the topic of the “Policy and legal issues arising from the use of computational tools in competition law enforcement" was chaired by Professor Michal Gal, Haifa University, with the participation of Giuseppe Colangelo (Jean Monnet Chair, University of Basilicata; Fellow at the Transatlantic), Yann Guthmann (Head of the Digital Economy Unit, French Competition Authority), Elena Rovenskaya (Program Director, Advancing Systems Analysis ProgramInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA), Pierre Régibeau, (Chief Economist, DG Competition, European Commission) and Thibault Schrepel (Assistant Professor, Utrecht University School of Law, Faculty Affiliate at Stanford University’s CodeX Center), while the issues raised were commented by the President of the HCC, Ioannis Lianos, and Sebastian Poledna (Acting Research Group Leader, Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems, Advancing Systems Analysis Program , IIASA). During this panel, a particular emphasis was placed on the linkage of computational tools with the investigative actions of the respective competition authorities while stressing their use in competition law enforcement as being imperative.

The second panel, chaired by the President of the HCC, was dedicated to the topic of "The use of data science tools in competition law enforcement- the prospects of Artificial Intelligence in the future”, was composed by Susana Campuzano(Head of Economic Intelligence Unit, Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, Spain), David Dorrell (Director of Data Science, Competition and Markets Authority – UK), Bence Toth (PhD candidate, University College London, Senior Analyst, Government Transparency), Tatiana Lima (Analyst at the Coordination of Anticompetitive Conduct Studies, Department of Economic Studies, Competition Authority of Brazil)Evgeny Litovchenko (Deputy Director, the Information Technology Center of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Russia) and Vassilis Vassalos (Data Science Expert, Hellenic Competition Commission), while comments were made by Alexey Ivanov (Director, BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre). In the context of this panel, examples were presented of the application of computational tools in competition investigations, while emphasising the importance of the human factor and its training, as well as institutional changes, by linking Competition Authorities on a more systematic basis with groups of experts in artificial intelligence and data science, in order to achieve the optimal performance from the application of artificial intelligence and these new investigative technologies in the field of competition.

The introduction to the Conference was made by Evgenia Ioannidou, Head of the new Forensic Investigation/Detection Unit, created a few months ago. Video, graphics, directing and Live Streaming were an in-house production by the Head of the Digital Communication & Public Relations Unit, Kostas Gourloumenos.

You can watch the video of the International Conference, with the respective time code for each speaker, here.

For more information, please visit the HCC’s dedicated webpage, accessible here

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