Explaining the game

10 August 2009

Prof Robert Aumann All's fair: Game theorist Prof Robert J Aumann delivering the Vice-Chancellor's Open Lecture.

Game theory and engineering were the focus of the second Vice-Chancellor's Open Lecture, delivered by Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Robert J Aumann on 31 July.

Aumann, an Emeritus Professor in the Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and a member of the University's Centre for the Study of Rationality, spoke on the topic Practical Applications in Game Engineering.

"Game engineering is all about incentives," said Aumann, who notes that when he delivers this same lecture to the business sector, he simply re-titles it Putting Incentives to Work for You.

Useful in understanding strategic interactions, in which one's success in making choices is dependent on the choices made by others, game theory is applied in areas as diverse as auctioneering, road planning, and personal relationships.

The author of over 90 scientific papers and six books, Aumann was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics, alongside Professor Thomas Schelling of the University of Maryland in the US, "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis".

Download a podcast of the lecture.

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