Strategic Games: A Minicourse for Computer Scientists

Lecturer: Prof. Krzysztof R. Apt (CWI and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Slides | Exercises

About the lecturer: Krzysztof R. Apt received his PhD in mathematical logic from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, in 1974. He is Professor at the University of Amsterdam and a Fellow at Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam. In the past he also worked at the Universities and Research Centra in Poland, France, U.S., Belgium and Singapore. Apt published four books and more than fifty journal articles, in computer science, mathematical logic and, more recently, economics. He is a member of Academia Europea and member of the council of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS). Apt is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Computing Research Repository (CoRR). He strongly believes that open access to scientific publishing is both feasible and strongly desirable for the further advancement of science.

Course summary: The purpose of this course is to introduce basic notions of strategic games and mechanism design. The first part of this course will be concerned with strategic games (sometimes called non-cooperative games). They model interaction between rational players, where rationality is understood as utility maximization. In strategic games the players take their actions simultaneously and the utility (payoff) for each player depends on the resulting joint action. We shall discuss the notions of Nash equilibrium, Pareto efficient outcomes and social optimum and illustrate them by such examples as prisoner's dilemma, tragedy of the commons, and congestion and network sharing games. The second part of the course will deal with the basic concepts of mechanism design, the aim of which is to arrange the economic interactions in such a way that when everyone behaves in a self-interested manner, the result is satisfactory for everybody. We shall illustrate it by means of various examples, including auctions, the public project problem and the problem of buying a path in the network. Finally, we shall discuss the class of games to which mechanism design corresponds.

Please send the solutions to professor Apt (k DOT r DOT apt AT cwi DOT nl)
by 9:01 h, 28th June, 2010.