Teaching: COMP34120

COMP34120 AI and Games

Part 1: A theory of games

(Semester 1, 2013/2014)

Shortcuts: Course notes Exams Official Syllabus Moodle



Overview

This is a 20 credit course unit extending over the entire academic year. I am responsible for teaching the mathematical theory of games which will take up much of the lectures in Semester 1.

There will be 2 lectures per week for the first 6 weeks of term (excluding Reading Week). For the remaining 5 weeks of term you will be split into small groups that work on writing a program that will play a particular game. In the first week of term there's a handout with all the organizational detail.

Activity

Lectures
Drop-in sessions
Seminars
Duration

Weeks 1 - 7 of term (excluding Reading Week, that is Week 6)
Weeks 8 - 11 of term
Week 12 -- might require slots outside scheduled teaching

The second semester will follow much the same structure, but I will not be involved in teaching that part so this page contains no further information regarding Semester 2.

The lectures will be dedicated to the following topics, and it is expected that students will work through the notes both before and after lectures.

Before lectures: Read the material assigned and try to make sense of it as far as you can. Identify questions to be asked in the lecture. Try to solve basic exercies.

After lectures: Work through those parts of the notes that you found difficult before the lecture. Have your problems been solved? Can you solve basic exercises now? Do you want to try more advanced ones?

No

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Week

1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
7
7
Topic

Intro to course
Intro to course
Games
Strategies and normal forms
Best responses, equilibria
Properties of equilibria
Mixed strategies
Finding equilibria, ext. example
Minimax and alpha-beta
Game-playing programs
Examples
Examples
Read pages

none
none
6-16
16-29
30-39
39-44
44-51
51-60
61-71
72-90
nothing new
nothing new
Taught by

Jon Shapiro
Jon Shapiro
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Andrea Schalk
Jon Shapiro
Jon Shapiro

Course notes

The notes for this part of the course are handed out in the first week of term. I appreciate any feedback on the course in general as well as on the material handed out. For this purpose please email me at A.Schalk at manchester.ac.uk.

The notes are written in a fair amount of detail because you are expected to spend some time each week in self-study. I will not explain every detail in the notes in the lectures. The lectures are there for me to introduce the big ideas, and to go through examples with you. Solutions to the exercises are included.

I'll keep a list of errors (currently empty) in the notes here as they're brought to my attention.


The exams

There is one exam for this course unit which takes place at the end, in the May/June exam period. There are three past papers which are available online, for 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13. You can read my feedback for Questions 1 and 2 of this exam in 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 .

The department keeps a wealth of information on exams, when they are, how to prepare for them, where to find old exam papers (where they exist), etc, here.

06 May 2014