Ever wanted to dip your toes into the ocean of Game Theory? Want to do it for free?

Now you can! Stanford’s offering several free courses online, starting in February. A few of my esteemed Google colleagues pointed me towards this Game Theory class. It’s being taught by the inestimable Matthew O. Jackson and Yoav Shoham.

Here’s a description of the class:

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 eBay, Google 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.

There won’t be a lot of heavy math, and the lecture videos will broken into small chunks, usually between eight and twelve minutes each.

I signed up! Let me know if you did, too, and we can work on this together.