STANFORD CS 224M : Multi Agent Systems
Spring 2013-14


The syllabus is subject to change. Visit to find the latest syllabus.

Course Links


June 9, 2014 June 6, 2014 May 30, 2014 May 28, 2014 May 27, 2014 May 25, 2014 May 23, 2014 May 19, 2014 May 15, 2014 May 13, 2014 May 5-9, 2014 May 3, 2014 May 2, 2014 Apr 29, 2014 Apr 15, 2014 Apr 14, 2014 Apr 12, 2014 Apr 10, 2014 Apr 9, 2014 Apr 7, 2014 Apr 5, 2014 Apr 1, 2014 Mar 31, 2014

The Flipped Classroom

We will run a flipped classroom: You are responsible for watching video lectures and reading the textbook on your own.
When we meet on Mondays, the first half of the class will consist of reviewing the main concepts (that you are supposed to have learned), and invite your questions and discussion; occasionally we may have an invited guest speaker. For the second half of the class, the TAs will take over and do some recitation (for example, solving an exercise problem and answering questions related to homework).

You should register for the course on edX here:
You are advised to follow our suggested schedule (see the bottom of this page), but you are welcome to watch videos ahead of our schedule.
We will collect questions in advance from you via the form here:
You can also view the questions asked by other students (to avoid duplicate questions):
You can ask any questions through the form, and we will try to address them when we meet on Mondays.

Time and Location

Mondays 2:15-4:05pm in 420-041 (Jordan Hall)


All lecture slides are available on edX (see below). Additional required reading material will be the textbook by Professor Shoham, co-authored with Kevin Leyton-Brown: Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations (Cambridge University Press, 2009). A slightly rough version is available here.

Quizzes and Lab Exercises

Some lectures will have short quizzes which will help you understand the material. They are intended to make sure you understand the basic definitions, but don't call for the same level of thinking as the problem sets or the midterm. We encourage you to take all quizzes, but they will not count towards your grade.

You will have the opportunity to participate in some periodic online 'lab exercises' which will allow you to play some of the games that we discuss in the lectures. Links to specific games will be provided at the end of some lecture videos. Like the quizzes, these will not be graded. We will usually ask you to complete these before the corresponding material is covered in lecture, so that you have a chance to experience some of the games before we provide a formal game theoretic analysis of them.

Grading Policies

We will have 4 homework assignments and in-class midterm on 5/19 Monday (tentative).
We will not grade based on attendance.

Homework = 50% | Midterm = 50% | Final Paper* (see below)

We will only accept hard-copies (no scanned copy or email) for homework solutions.
Homework solutions are due by Tuesdays 4pm at Gates 128 (there will be a box). NO late submissions are allowed as we will release the solution at the deadline.
While we do our best to make questions unambiguous, some questions may still remain unclear.
Please ask on the Discussion forum on edX if you are confused.

(*) Your Final Paper is graded on the A/B/C basis, which could change your letter grade up to a full grade up or down.
Roughly speaking, getting an A on your final paper could increase your final letter grade up to a full grade (analogous for a C).

Instructors and Office Hours

Instructor: Yoav Shoham TAs:

Important Dates

Homework release and due dates (NO late submissions are allowed.) Midterm date and coverage Final paper due dates

Honor Code

We encourage students to form study groups and discuss the lecture videos (including in-video questions). We also encourage you to get together with friends to watch the videos together as a group. However, the answers that you submit for the problem sets and midterm should be your own work; students are encouraged to discuss concepts and problems, but are NOT allowed to share their answers to problem sets and midterm. We ask that you do not share your solutions to any of the problem sets and midterm with any other students. This includes any sort of sharing, whether face-to-face, by email, uploading onto public sites, etc. Doing so will drastically detract from the learning experience of your fellow students, and any attempt to do so will be considered a clear honor code violation.

Lecture Schedules and Weekly Contents (subject to change)

Dates Content (subject to change) Released Due Dates

3/31 (Mon)

Week 1: Introduction and Normal Form Games

    Normal Form Definitions, Dominant Strategies, Pareto Optimality, Mixed Strategies, and Nash Equilibrium

Videos: All videos under Week 1 on edX. (~94 minutes)

Readings: Ch 3.1-3.3 (3.3.4 is optional.)

HW 1

4/7 (Mon)

Week 2: Solution Concepts and Computation in Game Theory

    Maxmin Strategy, Minimax Regret, Iterative Removal of Dominated Strategies, Computing Nash Equilibrium, Complexity of Nash Equilibrium, and Compact Representation

Videos: All videos under Week 2 on edX (there are two 'optional' vidoes). (~70 minutes excluding optional vidoes)

Readings: Ch 3.4, Ch 4.1 and Ch 4.2.1. (Rest of Ch 4 is optional.)

4/14 (Mon)

Week 3: Extensive Form Games

    Extensive Form Definitions, Centipede Game, Backward Inductions, Imperfect Information, and Subgame Perfect Equilibrium

Videos: All videos under Week 3 on edX. (~99 minutes)

Readings: Ch 5 (5.2.3 and 5.2.4 are optional).
NOTE: Sequence form and sequential equilibrium will be good to know, but will not appear in the homework or exam. Ch 6.5 is optional (but we recommend you read it as it contains intereting examples).

HW 2 Homework 1 due
(Apr 15)

4/21 (Mon)

Week 4: Repeated Games

    Finitely Repeated Games, Infinitely Repeated Games, Stochastic Games, Learning in Repeated Games, Folk Theorems

Videos: All videos under Week 4 on edX. (~84 minutes)

Readings: Ch 6.1-6.2; Also Ch 7.2 (Fictitious play).

4/28 (Mon)

Week 5: Coalitional Games and Bayesian Games

    Coalitional Game Theory, Shapley Value, Core, and Bayesian Games

Videos: All videos under Week 5 on edX. (~93 minutes)

Readings: Ch 12.1-2, Ch 6.3

HW 3 Homework 2 due
(Apr 29)

5/5 (Mon)

Week 6: Multi-Agent Learning (and Congestion Games)

    Rational Learning, Reinforcement Learning, Replicator Dynamics and Evolutionarily Stable Strategies, and Congestion Games

Videos: No videos. (In Week 4, you watched "Learning in Repeated Games" that covers Fictitious play in Ch 7.2 of the book.)

Readings: Ch 7, Ch 6.4

5/12 (Mon)

Week 7: Social Choice

    Social Choice, Computational Social Choice and Voting Manipulation

Videos: All videos under Week 7 on edX. (~77 minutes)

Readings: Ch 9 (Ch 9.5 is optional)

HW 4 Homework 3 due
(May 13)

5/19 (Mon)



Week 8: Mechanism Design

    Intro to Mechanism Design, Implementation, Revelation Principle, Quasilinear Preferences, and Mechanism Design as an Optimization Problem

Videos: All videos under Week 8 on edX. (~69 minutes)

Readings: Ch 10.1-10.3

Final Paper Proposal due (May 23)

5/26 (Mon)

No classes, Memorial day

Week 9 : The VCG Mechanisms

    Groves Mechanisms, VCG Mechanisms, and more

Videos: All videos under Week 9 on edX. (~81 minutes)

Readings: Ch 10.4 (Ch 10.4.7 is optional.) (optional: 10.5-10.7)

Homework 4 due
(May 27)
Final Paper Approval due (May 30)

6/2 (Mon)

Week 10: Auctions

    First Price Auctions, Auction Formats, Beyond Single Unit Auctions, Bidding Languages, and the Winner Determination Problem

Videos: All videos under Week 10 on edX. (~110 minutes)

Readings: Ch 11.1-11.2 (optional: 11.3-11.4)

6/9 (Mon)

Finals week

Final Paper due by 4pm June 9.