Back to Game Theory

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4,576 ratings

Popularized by movies such as "A Beautiful Mind," game theory is the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents. Beyond what we call `games' in common language, such as chess, poker, soccer, etc., it includes the modeling of conflict among nations, political campaigns, competition among firms, and trading behavior in markets such as the NYSE. How could you begin to model keyword auctions, and peer to peer file-sharing networks, without accounting for the incentives of the people using them? The course will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), Bayesian games (modeling things like auctions), repeated and stochastic games, and more. We'll include a variety of examples including classic games and a few applications.
You can find a full syllabus and description of the course here: http://web.stanford.edu/~jacksonm/GTOC-Syllabus.html
There is also an advanced follow-up course to this one, for people already familiar with game theory: https://www.coursera.org/learn/gametheory2/
You can find an introductory video here: http://web.stanford.edu/~jacksonm/Intro_Networks.mp4...

SC

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I would have preferred a more mathematically rigorous treatment of the subject. Nevertheless, this was a great course — the instructors expounded all concepts with exceptional clarity and engagement.

RC

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The course is generally good. The exercises however are not very well explained. Furthermore, it would be nice to have a pdf from the course in order to be able to study independently.

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By Kedar T

•Jun 18, 2021

This is an excellent course and great opportunity for learning in Game theory. Thanks to Stanford and Coursera for the efforts.

Course assignments get tougher as we go ahead, but thats the way to learn. At few times the the demonstrated examples are much simpler than the problem set assignments.

One problem in Problem set 7. Question number 6 needs to be addressed. The right answer mentioned contained option "d", where as in assignment problem statement option "d" is absent. So its as if hard coded with wrong answer :-(.

Overall it was great experience to complete this course in around weeks time.

-Kedar Tokekar

By DS C

•Aug 25, 2017

The course is superb. However, it would be nice to have more "first principles" examples and explanations, instead of frequently relying on convenient tricks such as iterated removal of strictly-dominated strategies, symmetry, and substitute-able MC answers. These tricks help tremendously in introducing new concepts, but not so much in solving generic problems. For example, while the Nash equilibrium is defined rigorously using best response, in quizzes it is often found by trial-and-error using the no-player-wishes-to-deviate concept instead of the definition.

By Rustam M

•Jun 13, 2020

Overall it was a very interesting and thought-provoking course with good explanations. The course conveyors break down some rather abstract concepts in a way that even an outsider can comprehend the logic and nature of Game Theory. However, I think that in general the course would benefit if more real life examples are provided, so to link the theoretical concepts with day-to-day examples, otherwise at times the content was slightly bland and tiresome to follow. But it certainly does not devalue the great job done by the Professors and Coursera.

By Yary R

•Oct 2, 2019

I decided to undertake this course to help my idealism and my loath for unfairness by seeing what mathematical justification wrong doers have to do what they do. I have gotten my answer, even though I have just scratched the surface of a subject which I would define "sacred". The front of Plato's Academy used to read: "No one [is admitted] who is ignorant of Geometry". Today would add Games Theory as a must, together with Evolutionary Theory. A kind advice to those who are adept of Mathematics and wish to tread this world: learn Game Theory.

By Kyle L

•Jul 1, 2017

I took this course as a refresher on Game Theory. I found it to be a solid way to refine my understanding of the fundamental concepts as well as to expand my exposure to more complex approaches. This course has a reasonable flow for beginner and intermediate learners, and also utilizes simulated games to create an interactive experience towards understanding the course content. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to develop a systematic (and quantifiable) outlook towards strategizing and decision-making.

By Mehul G

•Nov 27, 2018

It was a very informative and mentally stimulating course. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and now look at the world in a different light: considering the pros and cons of each decision I make, critically analysing it. Therefore, I take it upon myself to personally recommend this course to all prospective learners or interested persons. All in all this course will make you a more rational and logical thinker, enabling you to understand the intricacies of everyday decision making.

By Wilson O

•Dec 5, 2023

Course coverage was good, but it took me a lot more time than the advertised 'estimated time to complete' to learn the material well - I had to study the course material along with Steven Tadelis's text book and Leyton-Brown/Shoham's "Essentials of Game Theory". A lot of problem solving and practices are needed for the details to sink in, instead of merely trying to make sense of the set-theoretic notations and abstractions. The subject is a fascinating training for the mind.

By Kyle C

•May 15, 2017

I would not say that my specialty is math, or logical mathematical thinking, but I wanted to challenge myself by taking this course. The material, while difficult, was taught in a way that was very approachable, even for someone like myself, who had not attended a math class since my undergraduate education nearly a decade ago. The concepts were very interesting, and I had fun working out a path to solving the strategies, be it pure or mixed strategies, to solve each problem.

By Jakob V

•Jan 10, 2017

5 out of 5!

I managed to finish this course in just 10 days. Pretty simple yet practical, providing a very good introduction of Game Theory.

Would totally recommend this to anyone who wants to start learning Game Theory. Assessments are easy relatively; focus more on practical calculations than theoretical questions (which I assumed will be asked in Advanced Level).

All 3 instructors are friendly and experienced in lecturing, which helps a lot in understanding the materials.

By juan m e b

•Mar 7, 2018

Great course to learn the fundamentals of game theory. My advice for an absolute begginer, as myself, it's studying before watching the lectures, given that not everything is going to be explained and some details and procedures may not be completely clear if you only watch the videos, therefore, is very important reading the recommended books in the syllabus, and some others, to get a better idea of what is a mixed strategy, bayesians games and the shapley value.

By Tze-Ern C

•Jul 23, 2019

This was my first acquaintance with game theory and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was interested in the concepts rather than the mathematics and was pleased that this approach still allowed me to follow the lectures and pass the quizzes. I thought that the quizzes sometimes contained questions that weren't quite covered by the lectures, but appreciated the explanations that came with the answers. I would be glad of a follow-up course on behavioural game theory.

By Adam K

•Jan 8, 2017

Very interesting course. In my opinion in requires some mathematical background (e.g. to read mathematical notation) but more important is logical thinking. Sometimes you'd have to go an extra mile and find some external materials on particular topic to fully understand it but I'd say it's a good thing. I would recommend that course to anyone who knows that game theory exists but never really had a chance to explore it in more detail.

By Seth G L

•Jun 15, 2018

This course was highly informative, and covers essentially everything one should get in an introductory game theory class. However, I feel like there is a lot that is left unsaid in the section about cooperative games, particularly in regard to calculating the Shapley value over large games, non-transferable utility games, etc... Overall though, for one wanting to become acquainted with game theory, this is an excellent choice.

By Arihant J

•May 18, 2023

Coursera course on Game Theory has been an eye-opening and intellectually stimulating journey. It has provided me with a solid foundation in strategic decision-making, empowering me to think critically and strategically in both academic and real-life situations. I am grateful for the invaluable knowledge and skills gained through this course, and I am confident that they will continue to benefit me in my future endeavors.

By Prabhupad B

•Dec 14, 2020

The course is well structured to give a holistic idea of the application of Game Theory in the real world. It also covers all the important concepts of the subject with a detailed explanation. However, some parts of the course need improvement. The instructors can use more practical examples to connect to the economic side of game theory. The overall experience was excellent and the course was very informative.

By joel b

•Sep 1, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this course! I learned a lot, and it was good to see some practical examples of how to apply these skills, as an IR student this will also come in handy for my own work. My only complaint is I wish there were more example problems provided, as it was difficult at some points to apply the theory taught to only one example problem where I think more examples would have been useful.

By Athreya J B

•Jun 12, 2020

I took this course out of long-term interest to learn the concepts of Game Theory and study its applications to Economics. I am glad to say that the course successfully introduces and clarifies the basic concepts of the subject without much room for discontent. The lectures are clear, concise, and well-paced, and I would definitely recommend this course to anyone that is interested in the subject.

By Enrico P

•May 21, 2018

Simple and intuitive, all important definitions and theorems (without prof) are given with an incredible set of examples in the lectures and the quiz. All the lecturer make an effort to be clear an let people to understand the underlying meaning. Quiz are in general simpler than the whole theoretical aspects discussed in the lectures, but nevertheless illustrative. I will surely go for the next!

By Aliaksandr

•Jun 2, 2019

It was a really great intro into Game theory. Thanks a lot for your work. Sometimes I didn't have enough examples to understand the whole corner cases of theorems. But it pushed me to find that information in different sources which is also really good. So I don't know should you add more examples into your course or not). But in all cases thank you so much for you job. My best wishes.

By Pablo N

•Jul 30, 2017

I really liked this course. It has encouraged me to go deeper into some very interesting topics covered here. Instructors are very clear and the examples are very well chosen. I totally recommend this course. Even if you do not want to go deep into detail, this course gives you an overview of the main Game Theory topics and also guides you in researching more profound explanations.

By Koa Y

•Nov 8, 2018

It was a great introduction course for me as a 15 year old student. As I personally don't excel at symbols used in calculus I needed to work on that as I went through but I had a really fun time. Personally I would of liked the explanation of the formally written equations, but it probably was a problem that only I had as I am skipping a few steps of calculus. My Kindest Regards.

By Sorokin S

•Dec 27, 2017

This course is hard but I like it, it was so interesting and this helped me deeper understand complected systems like - Why and how create such system like OpenBazar and P2P systems, there nothing about it in this course but it helped me to reason about potential behaviour of pears. This course provides me with new useful framework reasoning. maybe I would take the next part.

By RAMAKRISHNAN

•Jun 8, 2020

Various mathematical notations are used across the course, to explain the Utility , Probability for Various sets / sub-sets.

It would have been useful, if only an hour was dedicated at the beginning of the course to explain how these notations are to be read.

This would have been helpful for those who are not either well versant with Mathematical notations or had to re-fresh

By Jie H

•Apr 13, 2019

It's an excellent introduction to game theory with a good balance of theory and practice. Sometimes the notations can be confusing and the formulas daunting, but I think it shouldn't be a problem for serious learners as there're plenty of real-life examples to aid the understanding process. I'm truly grateful to the professors for bringing this course online for free.

By Christopher A M H

•Dec 3, 2021

An incredibly well compressed introductory course, even for myself a complete beginner towards game theory. Very well worth your time should you be dedicated to understanding the discipline. Thank you also to the instructors who themselves are prominent acadamics in Game Theory, expecially when you come across publications or lecture notes by them online.