Year: Winter 20032004, Term 2
Meeting Times: Monday and Wednesday, 12:30  2:00
Location: CICSR 104
Instructor: Kevin LeytonBrown
Office Location: CICSR 185
Office Hours: Wednesday 2:00  3:00, or by
appointment




Course Description: This course examines the mathematical and computational foundations of modern multiagent systems, with a focus on game theoretic analysis of systems in which agents cannot be guaranteed to behave cooperatively. The course emphasizes student participation, featuring seminarstyle discussion as well as traditional lectures and giving students opportunities to make presentations. The course will culminate in a major research/writing project in which students survey existing literature and possibly explore open research questions.
Course Topics: Games: normalform; extensiveform; repeated; stochastic; Bayesian. Definition and computation of gametheoretic solution concepts. Mechanism design: key positive and negative results. Singlegood auctions. Combinatorial auctions: bidding; mechanisms; computational issues. Learning in games: repeated games; stochastic games; large populations.
Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites, and it is assumed that most students in the class will be unfamiliar with Game Theory, Mechanism Design, Auction Theory, and the literature on Multiagent Systems. Since some of the material to be covered is quite formal mathematically, students will need to be able to construct and follow formal proofs. Relevant mathematical/CS background would include introductory knowledge of probability theory, computational complexity and combinatorial optimization. Much of the work associated with the course will revolve around reading papers from the Multiagent Systems literature, writing a survey or research paper, and presenting findings to the class. Students who have trouble reading, speaking or writing comfortably in English will find themselves at a disadvantage.




Overall Grading Scheme
Final Project Grading Scheme (showing percentages of overall grade)
Working in Pairs: Due to the small size of the class, students will not be allowed to work in pairs.
Curving Grades and Peer Review: Final grades will be curved to give the overall distribution of grades a desired mean and standard deviation. Bonus marks will be applied after grades are curved. Peer review is an important component of the class, and will be taken into account when evaluating presentations and papers. Since this is a Multiagent Systems course, we have endeavored to construct a grading scheme that does not provide students with any ability to influence their own grades by reviewing other students strategically. The curve for a given student x will be calculated disregarding x's presentation and paper reviews of other students. To learn more, see miniassignment 1.




The most important single component of CPSC 532A is the final project, which allows students to explore material that was not covered in class and to share that material with other students. The project culminates in students writing and presenting a research paper, either alone or in pairs. The idea is to emphasize the skills that students need for writing a conference paper: reading from the literature; outlining ideas; writing; peer review; delivering a presentation. Here is the "pipeline":
The topic of the final project should either be a survey of a subarea in Multiagent Systems, a compareandcontrast of two or more influential papers, or your own research ideas. In future weeks a list of possible topics will appear in this space. Hopefully at least some of the 532A projects will develop into publishable work.




We will be using a new text under development, which is
currently only available in electronic form. In class an address
has been provided from which this book can be downloaded.
If you'd like to do additional reading on Game Theory, I
can recommend the following supplemental books:








Wednesday, March 31Monday, April 5Wednesday, April 7 




