Spring 2022

Learning and Games

Jan. 11May 13, 2022

The intersection of learning theory, game theory, and mechanism design is becoming increasingly relevant: (1) data input to machine learning algorithms is either owned or generated by self-interested parties, (2) machine learning is used to optimize economic systems (e.g., auction platforms) or to learn how to optimally act in strategic settings, (3) machine learning models used in critical systems are becoming prone to adversarial attacks, and (4) several machine learning approaches can be framed as finding the equilibrium of a game, as opposed to the minimizer of an objective function. The theoretical foundations of these problems lie at the intersection of learning theory, game theory, and mechanism design.

Already, online learning and game theory have played a key role in some landmark advances in machine learning. Online learning has provided some of the most successful optimization methods used in training large-scale deep neural networks. Game-theoretic modeling has enabled the design of generative adversarial networks (GANs) and inspired approaches for training deep neural network classifiers that are robust to adversarial attacks. Finally, min-max tree search and regret minimization algorithms are central in solving Go and Texas Hold’em. More broadly, the world is moving toward the coexistence of multiple AIs that learn from their interaction, which might be collaborative, strategic, or adversarial.

The objective of this program is to further advance the interaction between learning and games and rethink its mathematical foundations. The semester will study the foundations of (1) min-max optimization, (2) multi-agent reinforcement learning, (3) dynamical systems and learning, (4) behavioral game theory, (5) econometrics and learning, and (6) mechanism design and learning. Moreover, it will address practical challenges in application domains where these techniques seem most appropriate, such as (1) generative adversarial networks, (2) adversarial robustness, (3) learning with humans in the loop, (4) learning as a model of strategic behavior, and (5) interactions of multiple learners.

The semester aims to bring together members of different communities, including machine learning, economics, operations research, theoretical computer science, and social computing.

sympa [at] (body: (Click here to subscribe to our announcements email list for this program).

Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research; chair), Constantinos Daskalakis (MIT), Dylan Foster (MIT), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), Georgios Piliouras (Singapore University of Technology and Design), Éva Tardos (Cornell University)

Long-Term Participants (including Organizers)
Jacob Abernethy (Georgia Tech), Raman Arora (Johns Hopkins University), Tamer Başar (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Simina Brânzei (Purdue University), Yang Cai (Yale), Emilio Calvano (Università di Bologna), Constantinos Daskalakis (MIT), Gintare Karolina Dziugaite (Google Brain), Dylan Foster (Microsoft Research), Gauthier Gidel (Université de Montréal), Negin Golrezaei (MIT), Amy Greenwald (Brown University), Nika Haghtalab (UC Berkeley), Niao He (ETH Zurich), Ramesh Johari (Stanford), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Jason Lee (Princeton University), Kevin Leyton-Brown (University of British Columbia), Haipeng Luo (University of Southern California), Panagiotis Mertikopoulos (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Ioannis Mitliagkas (Mila & Université de Montréal), Vidya Muthukumar (Georgia Tech), Denis Nekipelov (University of Virginia), Noam Nisan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Ioannis Panageas (UC Irvine), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), David Parkes (Harvard), Lillian Ratliff (University of Washington), Daniel Roy (University of Toronto), Jeff S. Shamma (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Aaron Sidford (Stanford), Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research), Éva Tardos (Cornell University), (Carnegie Mellon University), Mengdi Wang (Princeton University)

Research Fellows
Yanjun Han (Stanford), Eric Mazumdar (UC Berkeley), Ananya Uppal (Carnegie Mellon University), Ellen Vitercik (UC Berkeley), Emmanouil-Vasileios Vlatakis-Gkaragkounis (Columbia University), Manxi Wu (MIT), Andrea Zanette (Stanford), Kaiqing Zhang (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Visiting Graduate Students and Postdocs
Kartik Ahuja (Université de Montréal), Blair Bilodeau (University of Toronto), Benjamin Chasnov (University of Washington), Qinyi Chen (MIT), Gregory d'Eon (University of British Columbia), Ilyas Fatkhullin (ETH Zurich), Maxwell Fishelson (MIT), Nicolas Fishman (Oxford University), Denizalp Goktas (Brown University), Noah Golowich (MIT), Wei Hu (UC Berkeley), Yujia Jin (Stanford), Taylor Lundy (University of British Columbia), Jeffrey Negrea (University of Toronto), Anargyros Oikonomou (Yale), Bingui Peng (Columbia University), Giorgia Ramponi (ETH Zurich), Nicholas Recker (Purdue University), Stelios Stavroulakis (UC Irvine), Enayat Ullah (Johns Hopkins University), Guanghui Wang (Georgia Tech), Chen-Yu Wei (University of Southern California), Xuezhou Zhang (Princeton University), Weiqiang Zheng (Yale)


Jan. 24Jan. 28, 2022


Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research; chair), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dylan Foster (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), Georgios Piliouras (Singapore University of Technology and Design), Éva Tardos (Cornell University)
Feb. 22Feb. 25, 2022


Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; chair), Niao He (ETH Zürich), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Asu Özdağlar (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Georgios Piliouras (Singapore University of Technology and Design), Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research)
Mar. 28Apr. 1, 2022


Georgios Piliouras (Singapore University of Technology and Design; chair), Fei Fang (Carnegie Mellon University), Nika Haghtalab (UC Berkeley), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research), Éva Tardos (Cornell University)
May 2May 6, 2022


Dylan Foster (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; chair), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Katja Hofmann (Microsoft Research), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Mengdi Wang (Princeton University)

If you are interested in joining this program, please see the Participate page.

Alternatively, researchers may apply to become long-term visitors. Applications are now closed.