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A Brief Introduction to Game Theory and Mechanism Design - By Arpita Biswas

A Brief Introduction to Game Theory and Mechanism Design - By Arpita Biswas - June 10 at 09:30 PM IST

Game theory can be defined as the “mathematical framework for rigorous study of conflict and cooperation among rational and intelligent agents”. It provides general mathematical techniques for analyzing situations where two or more agents make decisions that influence each other’s utilities. On the other hand, Mechanism Design may be defined as “reverse engineering of games” or “art of designing the rules of a game to achieve a specific desired outcome”. The main focus of mechanism design is to design protocols that satisfy certain desired objectives, assuming that the individual agents will act strategically and may hold private information that is relevant to the decision at hand. In the second half of the twentieth century, game theory and mechanism design have found widespread use in various applications in engineering. In particular, game theory and mechanism design have emerged as an important tool to model, analyze, and solve design problems in engineering involving strategic autonomous agents. These problems become more interesting and challenging in the presence of unknown (and stochastic) parameters, whose values directly influence the utilities and desirable outcome of the social planner. Such problems arise naturally in real-world scenarios like online ad-auctions, crowdsourcing, smart grid etc.

This talk is intended to provide a basic introduction to Game Theory and Mechanism Design and some key concepts like rational behavior, dominant strategy, Nash Equilibrium, solution concepts in cooperative game theory etc. In addition, this talk will cover the mechanism design problem with strategic agents and learning parameters in the context of online ad-auctions. Apart from the huge range of online Game Theory courses, some books for beginners include:
Roger B. Myerson. Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 1997.
Martin J. Osborne. An Introduction to Game Theory. The MIT Press, 2003. Cesa-Bianchi, Nicolo, and Gábor Lugosi. Prediction, learning, and games. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Narahari, Y. Game Theory and Mechanism Design. World Scientific, 2014.

Arpita Biswas is a PhD student at the Department of Computer Science and Automation (CSA), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) since August 2016. She is a recipient of the Google PhD Fellowship 2016. Her research supervisors are Prof. Y. Narahari and Prof. Siddharth Barman. Prior to joining PhD, she worked as a Research Engineer at Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI) in the Algorithms and Optimization team. She completed Masters in Engineering from Department of CSA, IISc in 2014. Prior to which she completed B.Tech in Computer Science from Institute of Engineering and Management (IEM Kolkata).

Her broad areas of interest include Algorithmic Game Theory and Machine Learning. She has prior experience in multi-agent learning, incentive mechanisms, facility location problems, planning and scheduling etc. Thus far, she has worked on problems arising from real-world scenarios like online crowd-sourcing, resource allocation, dynamic pricing in transportation etc. The following links contain further information about her research:

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