An Introduction to Game Theory


Rahul Garg,
Email: grahul[at]in.ibm.com,
Tel: 686-1100x197
IITD Internal number:6104

Course Timing:

Tuesday 10:00-11:30am
Friday 3:30-5:00pm


Department of Computer Science and Engineering Seminar Room (block VI 3rd floor).

Course Description:

Game theory has found its applications in numerous fields such as Economics, Social Science, Political Science, Evolutionary Biology. Game theory is now finding its applications in computer science. The nature of computing is changing because of success of Internet and the revolution in Information technology. The advancement in technologies have made it possible to commoditize the components such as network, computing, storage and software. In the new paradigm, there are multiple entities (hardware, software agents, protocols etc.) that work on behalf of different autonomous bodies (such as a user, a business etc.) and provide services to other similar entities. Internet has made is possible for many such geographically distributed antonomous entities to interact with each other and provide various services. These entities will work  for their respective owners to achieve their individual goals (maximize their individual payoffs), as opposed to obtaining a system optima (that is socially desirable). This results in an entirely different paradigm of computing where the "work" is performed in a completely distributed/decentralized fashion by different entities where the primary objective of each entity  is to maximize the objective of its owner. Therefore, it is important to study traditional computer science concepts such as algorithm design, protocols, performance optimization under a game-theoretic model.  This course aims to provide an basic understanding of various game-theoretic concepts and its application in different domains. After this course the students should be able to model many real situation using game-theory and design solutions (mechanisms, algorithms, protocols etc.) that are robust  even in presence of "self-centered" entities.

Active participation from the class is very important for this course to be successful. The course content will largely depend on what students want to learn.  I have organized this course  in two parts. In the first part I will teach some important basic concepts in the theory of cooperative and non-cooperative games alongwith some of their celebrated applications. In the second part, the students (preferably in gorups of two) are expected to present a topic (in game theory or its application) of their choice to the class. The student presentation will form a significant part of their overall evaluation. The evaluation of the presentation will be done jointly by me and the students.

Students (in groups of two) are expected to scribe lectures. These notes will have to be in html format. I will give my comments on the first draft of the notes based on which the students can revise their notes. After  one or two rounds of revisions, the notes will be publicly posted on the course web site for other students.

Suggested Books:

Lecture Notes:

Final Presentation Schedule

Interesting Links:

Mailing List:

I have created a yahoo group for the course. This group will primarily serve as a mailing list for course announcements, exchanging notes among students, and posting interesting articles related to the course.

Group Email Addresses:

Post message:
List owner:

Grading (tentative)

Midterm:    25
Major:    35
Presentation: 25
Scribe notes/class participation: 15

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