Thursday, March 5, 2009

Game theory courses (and some learning by doing... in Starcraft)

Game theory doesn't have anything directly to do with the political/military gaming this blog is about, but it's a useful tool in conceptualizing strategic interaction, which can come in very handy. Academic Earth has posted video of the lectures from two different elementary game theory courses, one from Yale, the other from Berkeley. The Berkeley course only has one lecture posted so far, but the Yale course appears to be complete. However, the Berkeley course offers something unique: it is the first class to be taught from the perspective of the video game Starcraft. The strategic interaction within the game forms the basis for the course's explanations of the basics of game theory, and familiarity with the game is highly recommended for students taking the class. I'm not sufficiently familiar with Starcraft to fully appreciate this, but it's a fascinating concept. The class website is here, with more information. It's enough to make me consider trying to hunt down a copy of the game.

For a more complete explanation of the difference between gaming and game theory and an example of how game theory and gaming together can complement each other as analytic tools, see the section of this post describing an article by Paul Bracken that utilizes both.

1 comment:

Rex Brynen said...

I can only praise an initiative that potentially popularizes the term "zerging"! I can't think how many times I've used it in other settings, only to realize that no one else in the room knows what I'm talking about.

(See also: nerfing)