Econ 4760/Econ 6760/ CS 5846:
Course Policies and General Course Info

Time and Place:
Tuesday, Thursday, 10:10-11:25, Thurston 203

Larry Blume, 430 Uris,, 5-9530 Joe Halpern, 4130B Upson,, 5-9562
TA: Vasu Raman, 5156 Upson Hall, 5-5521,,

What the course is about:
The course introduces approaches to decision theory from computer science, economics, and game theory. It's intended for advanced undergraduates and graduates students in computer science, economics, mathematics, philosophy, and cognitive science. The course has several objectives, reflected in the topics on the reading list. First, we will cover basic decision theory, also known as ``rational choice theory''. Second, we will cover the limitations and problems with this theory, both as it applies to computers and to human agents. (The problems are not the same in all cases.) Issues to be discussed here include decision theory paradoxes revealed by experiments, cognitive limitations, and computational issues. Third, we will cover new research designed in response to these difficulties.

Mathematical sophistication is more important for this class than mathematical technique. The required technical background is the basic elements of probability theory -- random variables, expectations, and conditioning.

There will be one midterm (held in early to mid October, either in class or in the evening) and a final, given at the regularly scheduled time (Thursday, Dec. 16, 2-4:30 PM). We believe that doing homework regularly is the best way to learn the material, and the grading reflects that. Homework will be handed out every other week. Students taking Econ 6760 and CIS 5846 will have extra problems. Homework, midterm, and exams will be weighted roughly as follows:

Late Homework Policy: Homework will only be accepted in class and on time unless a prior arrangement is made with one of the instructors. To compute the final homework grade, we will drop your lowest homework grade.If you miss handing in an assignment (for emergency, illness, whatever), this will be the one dropped.

Academic Integrity: It's OK to discuss the problems with others, but you MUST write up solutions on your own, and understand what you are writing. You may not copy any part of someone else's code or written homework. To do so is a violation of the Academic Integrity Code.

Text: Notes on the Theory of Choice, David Kreps, Westview Press, 1988.
This is avaiable at the campus bookstore (and on Amazon). Various additional readings will also be handed out and posted on the web site. A useful text for background is Resnik's Choices: An Introduction to Decision Theory, also available at the campus bookstore; it provides additional discussion and examples. Various additional readings will also be handed out and posted.