Saturday, April 24, 2010

3 papers for my reading list

Last week I was at the EPSRC Symposium Workshop on Game theory for finance, social and biological sciences at Warwick University, an event that lived up its multidisciplinary title; here are 3 papers that people told me about, that I hereby undertake to try to read.

"On the rate of convergence of fictitious play" by Brandt, Fischer and Harrenstein, available from Felix Brandt's web site, actually qualifies to be mentioned here at Noam Nisan's blog, where he put out a call for recommendations for as-yet-unpublished algorithmic game theory papers. The paper explains clearly what is meant by Fictitious Play (which was a prominent topic at the above workshop) and for types of game for which is known to converge (to Nash equilibrium), shows it takes exponential time. Surely a very timely set of results, in view of recent related results in CS about the convergence rate of various dynamic processes in game-theoretic settings.

"Fairness and Desert in Tournaments" by Gill and Stone, available here at David Gill's web site, I find interesting since it relates to my (and 3 co-authors) paper on competition for placement in a ranking, to appear in EC. The word "tournament" is not being used in quite the same sense as in social choice (a mechanism to pick a winner using a program of pairwise contests); it's (related) meaning is a competition where one player gets a prize, but there is quantified value to the prize, as well as cost for alternative levels of effort that go in to winning it. The emphasis is on the impact of players' sense that they deserve to win or lose, something that is modeled mathematically.

"Chaos in learning a simple two-person game" by Sato, Akiyama and Farmer, available here, in fact focuses on rock-paper-scissors, and shows that a particular learning process may exhibit chaotic behaviour, perhaps because if the behaviour was predictable, then a player could predict it and take advantage of what is about to happen.

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