Essential Business MOOCs For January

Game Theory II: Advanced Applications

School: Stanford University

Platform: Coursera

Registration Link: Game Theory: Advanced Applications

Start Date: January 11, 2015 (6 Weeks)

Workload: 5-7 Hours Per Week

Instructors: Matthew O. Jackson, Yoav Shoham and Kevin Leyton-Brown

Credentials:  Jackson, an economics professor at Stanford University, teaches courses in game theory, political economics, and microeconomics. A Stanford Ph.D., Jackson is best known for his book, Social and Economic Networks. He also teaches a Social and Economic Networks MOOCs, with a second part to this Game Theory MOOC starting in January 2015.

A Yale Ph.D., Shoham teaches courses in artificial intelligence, game theory, and electronic commerce in Stanford’s computer science and philosophy schools. He is a fellow at the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and has founded several internet companies.

Leyton-Brown, who co-authored a book on game theory with Shoham, teaches computer science courses at the University of British Columbia. Like Jackson, he is a Stanford Ph.D. and researches extensively on the impact on technology on microeconomics. He is an associate editor for several scholarly journals.

Graded: This course includes graded and ungraded tracks. Students who successfully compete the quizzes and final exam will receive a signed certification of completion.

Description: Game theory encompasses the strategic interactions between self-interested parties. It applies mathematic models to predict behavior in everything from stock market purchases to potential actions by nations in conflict. In the first half of the course, students studied competition concepts and basic games, applying them to real world scenarios to identify potential responses and repercussions. In the second half , students will analyze “how to design interactions between agents in order to achieve good social outcomes. Three main topics are covered:  social choice theory (i.e., collective decision making), mechanism design, and auctions.” In particular, the course will cover concepts like Arrow’s Theorem, the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theoremm, the Muller-Satterthwaite Theorem, and Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms.

Although the course relies heavily on video lectures, slideshows, and non-graded quizzes, students will also learn concepts through lab exercises, where students will compete with each other online in various games. Students will be evaluated using problem sets, and a final exam. And they can receive help from TAs and peers using an online forum. Students can also interact with instructors during regularly-scheduled “screen-side chats.”

Review: This class is MUCH harder than their Game Theory I class because it is VERY abstract. The videos gave virtually no examples and used lots of terminology with the tacit assumption that you either already knew the terms or virtually immediately understood them when they first sort-of explained them. Unlike in their original version of the Game Theory I class I took, the professors were absent from this class. It was run on autopilot. For additional reviews, click here.

Additional Note: The professors assume students enroll in the course with a basic knowledge of calculus and probability fundamentals. For additional background on the course, students can purchase Essentials of Game Theory by Leyton-Brown and Shoham or A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Jackson.