This is the homepage for Dr. Ronnie Pavlov's First-Year Seminar on the Mathematics of Games. This page will be updated throughout the term with important information for our course, including homework assignments, review materials, and more. |
Our course meets every TR from 4:00 p.m. - 5:50 a.m. in John Greene Hall 102, except during Discoveries Week for our Dialogues sessions, during which we will meet in
Cherrington Hall, room 219.
Text: Game Theory and Strategy by Philip D. Straffin.
Most of us have played games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, chess, Go, checkers, and poker. Many games can be studied mathematically using a branch of mathematics called game theory. We will discuss various facets of elementary game theory, including (but not limited to!) how to formulate strategies, what makes some strategies ``better'' than others, what makes some games difficult or impossible to analyze, and applications to real-world concepts. Specific topics we may cover include the Nash equilibrium, the prisoner's dilemma, and bluffing in poker.
The class will not be purely theoretical; we will spend lots of time applying the course concepts by playing various games. A homework assignment might involve analyzing a simple game, devising a winning strategy, and then trying it out during class.
The course will be roughly broken up into two halves. The first half will be devoted to games where both players move simultaneously, without knowledge of the other player's move. (These are also called matrix games.) In the second half, we will focus on games where the players move sequentially, taking turns, until the game ends. (These are also called sequential games.)
Your term grade will consist of homework assignments (which may include problems from the text, problems I make up, or slightly longer open-ended projects), one midterm exam, and one final exam, broken down in the following way:
Late assignments will have a percentage subtracted according to the following policy:
You will have a midterm exam on October 15th and a final exam on Tuesday, November 19th. Both exams will be in our classroom (John Greene 102) during classtime (4:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.)
Students in this course are expected to abide by the University of Denver's Honor Code and the procedures put forth by the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards. Academic dishonesty - including, but not limited to, plagiarism and cheating - is in violation of the code and will result in a failing grade for the assignment or for the course. As student members of a community committed to academic integrity and honesty, it is your responsibility to become familiar with the DU Honor Code and its procedures: see http://www.du.edu/honorcode.
The learning outcomes for this course are: