Game Theory Resource
January 3, 2005 4:05 AM   Subscribe

Game Theory.
posted by Gyan (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

also, game theory.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:24 AM on January 3, 2005 [1 favorite]

Ugh. I took the Game Theory course at NYU where Steven Brams (listed several times in the books section) was teaching it. If you ever want to enjoy the feeling roughly equivalent to that of pressing your thumbs against your temples for ninety minutes twice a week, go for it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:26 AM on January 3, 2005

YMMV. Game Theory was one of, if not the, most enjoyable classes of my econ degree. That sounds like damning with faint praise, I'm sure, but I think it's fascinating stuff. The Wikipedia provides a good background on the subject.
posted by yerfatma at 7:08 AM on January 3, 2005

this comment on slashdot, regarding the Google interview process, turned me on to the site.. very interesting stuff!
posted by fatbaq at 7:27 AM on January 3, 2005

Oh god, steven brams's books are so fucking good it's unbelievable. I was lapping that up as a sophomore in high school for a state math competition (ok, I was a dork, what's your point?). His Theory of Moves and a lot of his other books helped me get one of the best scores in the state, woohoo! I found his texts easy to understand and very well-written, even at age 13.

Is he just not as good in person?
posted by u.n. owen at 7:28 AM on January 3, 2005

XQU did you by chance start reading papers looking for sekret communist communications did you ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:05 AM on January 3, 2005

Of course, one of the big problems with game theory as a predictive mechanism is that outcomes become much less predictable once the subjects learn about game theory.

Another problem is that it's not always clear whether a particular theory references real-world behavior or idealized, rational behavior. By which I mean, it's not always clear whether the theorist knows....
posted by lodurr at 8:13 AM on January 3, 2005

Is he just not as good in person?

He's a very nice guy, but that course was just intolerable. In the simplest terms, I signed up for a politics course and found myself in a math class. The Theory of Moves is a great concept, but the book read like pages of the exact same concept being repeated over again. The course description talked about analyzing historical scenarios, and "game theory" sounded a lot more fun on paper.

I did, however, get an A on my paper that used a 2x2 TOM matrix to explain why it would be better if Bill Bradley was the Democratic nominee for President. Luckily the paper was due before Iowa.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:25 AM on January 3, 2005

No, Steven Brams is not a good teacher in person. He has an incredibly annoyingly nasal Boston accent that only serves to heighten his smug, snooty arrogance. I took an undergrad course from him once, and that was quite enough, thanks. I'm also irritated by the fact that he applied for a patent on the theory of moves. This is a poli sci professor! Does he think he can get royalties from diplomats and corporate raiders? His books are fine, since when you read them, you hear your own voice. At least, if you've had the good fortune not to have had to sit through his lectures twice a week for an entire semester.

lodurr: one of the rather glaring limitations of game theory is that it models idealized rational behavior, rather than empirically determined real-world human behavior. Theorists have tried to account for that using notions of limited information and bounded rationality, but I still don't think at this point that theory conforms very well to observation.
posted by skoosh at 8:44 AM on January 3, 2005

Also, what XQUZYPHYR said.
posted by skoosh at 9:00 AM on January 3, 2005

Haha. Okay. I like the intersection of politics and math in ways that border on sexual. So I don't think I'd mind that, but the voice thing maybe.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:04 AM on January 3, 2005

Improv game theory.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:06 PM on January 3, 2005

Interesting, Gyan, as usual.
posted by semmi at 11:05 PM on January 3, 2005

skoosh: What I meant, yes. But what gets interesting is that, if you're clever, you can game the game theory -- that's what the best salesmen and con artists do.
posted by lodurr at 5:55 AM on January 4, 2005

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