Stanford offers game theory course for free, online

If your interest in gaming extends into the academic realm, Stanford University has a course that’s right up your alley. And it’s online, so you can study it anywhere. And it’s free, so you have no real excuses.

The Game Theory course starts today, tackling such fun topics as the Prisoner’s Dilemma, the Diner’s Dilemma and the Pirate Game – those puzzles you might remember from A Beautiful Mind.

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

Game Theory is “the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents”, according to course organisers, who explain that the concept branches far beyond what we commonly call “games” in today’s language.

That might sound a little daunting, but organisers Yoav Shoham and Matthew O. Jackson promise that “relatively little specific math is required” (but you should be familiar with basic probability theory and basic calculus).

The course itself is offered online through Coursera, and you’ll need a (free) account to sign up. Unfortunately this one doesn’t count for any university / course credit, but if you’re studying a related discipline it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing to have under your belt. Lectures can be watched at your leisure, and with the whole thing presented by a computer scientist and an economist, you know you’re getting the real deal.

Here’s a video of Shoham and Jackson playing a little Rock, Paper, Scissors and speaking some more about what their course entails.

Remember, everything kicks off today, March 19th – but sign-ups are available until March 25th, so even if you’re running late, you can still jump right in and catch up. See you there!

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