Faculty of Science University of British Columbia 
20062007: ISCI 330  Game Theory
Term: 2
Meeting Times: Tuesday and
Thursday, 3:30  5:00 PM
First Class: Tuesday,
January 9th
Location:
McLeod 214
Instructors:
Jeff Fletcher and
Kevin
LeytonBrown
Instructors' Office Locations:
BioSci 3340 (Fletcher); CICSR 185 (LeytonBrown)
Office Hours: Immediately after class, or by appointment 



Course Description: Game theory involves the study of cooperation and competition. It provides a theoretical framework for reasoning about a wide variety of phenomena including, for instance, the price of gasoline, nuclear proliferation, who pays for dinner when friends dine out, or the biological conditions necessary for the evolution of cooperation. This course presents the basic ideas of game theory, starting with how to represent and classify different kinds of interactions in terms of games where players choose among alternative strategies in order to maximize their own benefit. Game theory is useful across a broad range of scientific disciplines because situations involving conflicts of interest are ubiquitous, and because the meaning of “players” in game theory is very general. For example, players could be individual genes competing for representation in subsequent generations or whole countries negotiating trade agreements with each other. Emphasis in the course is on understanding the findings of game theory and its usefulness in analyzing a variety of interesting phenomena, rather than on the purely technical aspects of the theory. This course should be of interest to a wide variety of students, from those interested in math, computer science and economics to biologists and social scientistsreally, anyone wishing to gain formal tools for reasoning about cooperation and competition in social interactions. The course emphasizes student participation, featuring seminarstyle discussion as well as traditional lectures. The course will culminate in a small research project in which students survey existing literature and possibly explore open research questions.
Course Topics: Overall, we will survey some basic topics in game theory
and investigate ways in which this theory has been applied in biology,
computer science and other fields. Specific topic include: Games: normalform;
extensiveform; repeated; stochastic; Bayesian. We will also discuss
evolutionary game theory and social choice theory. If time permits, we will also investigate
applications of game theory to the design of economic mechanisms such as
auctions. 



Overall Grading Scheme Warning: We reserve the right to make changes to the exact percentage breakdowns shown here. However, the following grading scheme should be approximately accurate, and indicates the components of the class upon which you will be graded.
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 papers. Since this is a game theory course, a grading scheme has been constructed 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. Assignments: The course will include assignments. Assignments will probably not be weighted equally: weighting will be proportional to the total number of available points. In particular, the last assignment may be weighted substantially more heavily since it will cover material not reviewed on the midterm exam. Tentative dates on which assignments will become available and due dates are given in the schedule below. Assignments are to be handed in IN CLASS at the start of lecture on the due date. However, every student is allotted three "late days", which allow work to be handed in late without penalty on three days or parts of days during the term. How late does something have to be to use up a late day? A day is defined as a 24hour block of time beginning at 3:30 PM on the day an assignment is due. To use a late day, write the number of late days claimed on the first page of your assignment and submit it, either electronically or in the physical handin location (TBA). You can also just bring it to class if it's less than an hour late. Examples:
The purpose of late days is to allow students the flexibility to manage unexpected obstacles to coursework that arise during the course of the term, such as travel, moderate illness, conflicts with other courses, extracurricular obligations, job interviews, etc. Thus, additional late days will NOT be granted except under truly exceptional circumstances. Late assignments will no longer be accepted from students who have used up all of their late days. Academic Conduct: Submitting the work of another person as your own (i.e. plagiarism) constitutes academic misconduct, as does communication with others (either as donor or recipient) in ways other than those permitted for homework and exams. Such actions will not be tolerated. Specifically, for this course, the rules are as follows:
Violations of these rules constitute very serious academic
misconduct, and they are subject to penalties ranging from a grade of
zero on the current and *all* the previous assignments to indefinite
suspension from the University. More information on procedures and
penalties can be found in the
Computer Science Department's Policy on Plagiarism and collaboration and in
UBC
regulations on student discipline . If you are in any doubt about
the interpretation of any of these rules, please consult one of the instructors. 



ISCI 330 will culminate with a final project that allows students to explore material that was not covered in class and to share that material with other students. The project involves students writing a paper on a topic of interest within Game Theory, and then reading and evaluating each other's papers. Here is the "pipeline":
The topic of the final project need not be too ambitious; if you don’t
take one of our suggested topics it’s fine to perform a survey of a subarea
in game theory or a compareandcontrast study of two or more influential
papers. If you plan to do more work in the area, you can also use the
project to develop your own ideas.
Here are three
suggested topic areas and a fuller description of the project. Please note
that assignment late days cannot be applied to the final project. 



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. Please do not
distribute this file. Also, please note that this book may be updated
throughout the course; thus, we recommend printing individual chapters as
we come to them, or simply using the book electronically, rather than
printing the whole book at the beginning.
If you'd like to do additional reading on Game Theory, or
to get another perspective on material covered in class, we recommend the following supplemental books:
Additional reading is available in the CS reading room.
They are available in a special section, under the heading "game theory
reading group". Just ask the librarian if you can't find them! 











Last updated July 06, 2011