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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Algorithmic Game Theory and its Applications (INFR11020)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaInformatics Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionGame theory is the formal study of interaction between "self-interested" (or "goal-oriented") "systems" (or "agents" or "decision makers" or "players"), & strategic scenarios that arise in such settings. It began life in Economics in the 1940's with the work of von Neumann & Morgenstern, but has since been applied to an extraordinary range of subjects, including political science, evolutionary biology & even to inspection regimes for arms control.

Game theory has for years also played an important, if less recognized, role in several branches of computer science. Applications within computer science include the use of games in automated verification & model checking to model computing systems in an unknown and possibly adverse environment. In AI games are applied to the analysis of multi-agent systems. Recently, with the advent of the internet and e-commerce, many game theoretic questions in the interplay between economics & computing have received extensive attention. These include electronic auctions, & more generally mechanism design questions (inverse game theory) related to finding incentive structures for cooperation between independent entities on the internet.

Wherever game theory plays a quantitative role, algorithmic and computational questions related to "solving" games are also of central importance.

This course aims to bring together as a coherent body of knowledge the game theoretic algorithms & models that underpin several flourishing subjects at the intersection of computer science, economics and e-commerce, & AI.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Algorithms and Data Structures (INFR09006)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements For Informatics PG and final year MInf students only, or by special permission of the School. A reasonably solid grounding in theoretical computer science and/or mathematics is assumed.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  No Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 15:00 - 15:50
CentralLecture1-11 15:00 - 15:50
First Class Week 1, Monday, 15:00 - 15:50, Zone: Central. BSQ7 LT3
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) WebCT enabled:  No Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 15:00 - 15:50
CentralLecture1-11 15:00 - 15:50
First Class Week 1, Monday, 15:00 - 15:50, Zone: Central. BSQ7 LT3
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
1 - Understanding of various models of games.
2 - How they are related, and how they arise in various applications in computer science and elsewhere.
3 - An understanding of linear programming and some of its broad applicability.
4 - An understanding of algorithms used to "solve" such games and their efficiency.
5 - Ability to model various scenarios as strategic games, and devise algorithms to solve them.
6 - An understanding of some of the aims of the current research frontier.
7 - Refinement of analytical skills.
8 - The following learning outcomes are all to be demonstrated via a combination of coursework and the exam.
Assessment Information
Written Examination 70
Assessed Assignments 30
Oral Presentations 0

Students will be given written practical assignments reinforcing the material taught in class. Some of the practical work may ask students to implement parts of algorithms for "solving" a game that arise in one of the application areas.

If delivered in semester 1, this course will have an option for semester 1 only visiting undergraduate students, providing assessment prior to the end of the calendar year.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus * Examples of diverse games.
* Zero-sum two-person games: LP, simplex, LP-duality, mixed strategies and the minimax theorem.
* General games in strategic form:
o Equilibria and Nash's theorem.
o 2-player equilibria: Lemke-Howson algorithm and its variants.
* Games in Extensive form (mainly zero-sum, perfect information):
o Game trees. Relation to Strategic games.
o And/Or game graphs and reachability games.
o bisimulation, simulation, parity games, and other omega-games on automata(finitely presented, infinite duration games).
o mean value games, MDPs, and stochastic games.
* Mechanism design and inverse game theory: designing games where selfish players will behave as desired.
o Vickery auctions and other mechanisms.
o Combinatorial auctions.
o Incentive structures for the internet.

Relevant QAA Computing Curriculum Sections: Artificial Intelligence, Data Structures and Algorithms, e-commerce, Simulation and Modelling, Theoretical Computing
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list * There is currently no textbook on this subject. We will use papers, handbook chapters, and course notes.
* Relevant references include:
* "Linear Programming" by V. Chvatal,
* "Game Theory" by Osborne and Rubinstein, "Game Theory: Anaysis of Conflict" by R. Myerson, several chapters from "Handbook of Game Theory, vol. I-III"
* Chapters from "Automata, logic, and infinite games", (Eds.) Gradel, Thomas, and Wilke.
* Survey papers, including "Algorithms, games, and the internet" by Papadimitriou, "Two-person equilibria" by von Stengel, and "Algorithmic Mechanism Design" by Nisan and Ronen
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Lectures 20
Tutorials 0
Timetabled Laboratories 0
Non-timetabled assessed assignments 36
Private Study/Other 44
Total 100
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Michael Rovatsos
Tel: (0131 6)51 3263
Course secretaryMiss Kate Weston
Tel: (0131 6)50 2701
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