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

Time and Place:
Tuesday, Thursday, 1:25-2:40, Goldwin Smith 132

Joe Halpern, Gates 414,, 5-9562
Bruno Salcedo, 480 Uris Hall, 5-7965

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.

Having some mathematical sophistication is more important for this class than specific mathematical technique. The required technical background is the basic elements of probability theory --- random variables, expectations, and conditioning. This is typically covered in the first few weeks of a probability course. ``Mathematical sophistication'' means some experience reading and writing mathematical proofs. You will see a lot of proofs in the course, and will be required to do some for homework and for the prelim/exam. Students who have not had experience with writing mathematical proofs have had difficulty with the course in the past.

There will be one midterm, to be held roughly March 15, either in class or in the evening, and a final, given at the Cornell-scheduled time. 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 CS 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: There is no required text. Here are some useful background texts, which are on reserve at the library: Usefuls text for background include Kreps' Notes on the Theory of Choice and Resnik's Choices: An Introduction to Decision Theory. Various additional readings will also be handed out and posted.

Piazza Site: