A Crash Course in Strategic Games

Krzysztof Apt (CWI, Netherlands).

Course Summary | About the lecturer | Location and schedule |

Course summary:

Strategic games deal with the analysis of 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. The course will focus on the basic tension between the notions of Nash equilibrium and social optimum. It will introduce various games in which these two notions differ, including prisoner's dilemma, tragedy of the commons, Cournot competition, congestion games, fair cost sharing games, and social network games. To quantify this difference the notions of the price of anarchy, price of stability and selfishness level will be introduced. We shall also discuss the concept of mixed strategies and clarify the fundamental results of John von Neumann and John Nash on the equilibria in zero-sum games and strategic games.

About the lecturer:

Krzysztof R. Apt is a Fellow at the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and an Affiliated Professor at the University of Warsaw. During his scientific career he held tenure positions in Poland, France, USA, and the Netherlands. Apt published four books and more than seventy journal articles, in computer science, mathematical logic and, more recently, economics. His former research dealt with mathematical logic, semantics, verification and design of programming languages, logic and constraint programming, deductive databases and non-monotonic reasoning. His current research is concerned with game theory, social networks, and multi-agent systems. Apt is a member of Academia Europaea, the founder and first Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, past president of the Association for Logic Programming (1997 -- 2000), and past member of the Goedel Prize committee (2013 -- 2015). Since 2001 he has been involved in a number of open access initiatives, including Computing Research Repository (CoRR) and Electronic Proceedings in Theoretic Computer Science (EPTCS).

Location and schedule:

MIMUW building, room 5440

Thursday, October 25
14:15 - 15:45 lecture
15:45 - 16:00coffee and cake
16:00 - 17:00 lecture
Friday, October 26
14:15 - 15:45 lecture
15:45 - 16:00 coffee and cake
16:00 - 17:00 lecture
Saturday, October 27
10:15 - 11:30 lecture
11:30 - 11:45 coffee and cake
11:45 - 13:00 lecture

"Strategic Games" book


  1. Game Theory: a Tutorial Introduction
  2. Some Interesting Strategic Games
  3. Congestion Games
  4. Selfishness Level of Strategic Games
  5. Social Networks Games
  6. Nash and Von Neumann Theorems

Videos (new!)

Assignment: problem set. Please submit the solutions by email to apt at cwi.nl by Saturday December 1.

Solutions: Example solutions can be found here