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.

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This program is partially supported by the Foundations of Data Science Institute. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF through grant DMS-2023505.

All event participants are subject to the Code of Conduct described here.


Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research; chair), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dylan Foster (Microsoft Research), 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 Institute of Technology), Venkat Anantharam (UC Berkeley), Raman Arora (Johns Hopkins University), Yu Bai (Salesforce Research), Tamer Başar (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Simina Brânzei (Purdue University), Yang Cai (Yale University), Emilio Calvano (University of Bologna), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Anca Dragan (UC Berkeley), Gintare Karolina Dziugaite (Google Brain), Laurent El Ghaoui (UC Berkeley), Dylan Foster (Microsoft Research), Gauthier Gidel (University of Montreal), Nicki Golrezaei (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Bryan Graham (UC Berkeley), Amy Greenwald (Brown University), Nika Haghtalab (UC Berkeley), Niao He (ETH Zürich), Chi Jin (Princeton University), Ramesh Johari (Stanford University), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Yuichiro Kamada (UC Berkeley), Amin Karbasi (Yale University), Christoph Kern (University of Mannheim), Jason Lee (Princeton University), Kevin Leyton-Brown (University of British Columbia), Haipeng Luo (University of Southern California), Panayotis Mertikopoulos (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Ioannis Mitliagkas (Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute & University of Montreal), John Morgan (UC Berkeley), Jamie Morgenstern (University of Washington), Vidya Muthukumar (Georgia Institute of Technology), Denis Nekipelov (University of Virginia), Ioannis Panageas (UC Irvine), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), Yiangos Papanastasiou (UC Berkeley), David Parkes (Harvard University), Demian Pouzo (UC Berkeley), Lillian Ratliff (University of Washington), Dan Roy (University of Toronto), Dorsa Sadigh (Stanford University), Anant Sahai (UC Berkeley), Shankar Sastry (UC Berkeley), Jeff S. Shamma (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Aaron Sidford (Stanford University), Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research; chair), Steve Tadelis (UC Berkeley), Éva Tardos (Cornell University), Pravin Varaiya (UC Berkeley), Jean Walrand (UC Berkeley), Mengdi Wang (Princeton University)

Research Fellows:

Yanjun Han (UC Berkeley), Eric Mazumdar (California Institute of Technology), Ananya Uppal (University of Texas at Austin), Ellen Vitercik (UC Berkeley), Manolis Vlatakis Gkaragkounis (Columbia University), Manxi Wu (UC Berkeley), Andrea Zanette (Simons Institute, UC Berkeley), Kaiqing Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology ), Angela Zhou (UC Berkeley)

Visiting Graduate Students and Postdocs:

Kartik Ahuja (University of Montreal), Nivasini Ananthakrishnan (UC Berkeley), Zoe Bell (UC Berkeley), Blair Bilodeau (University of Toronto), Ben Chasnov (University of Washington), Qinyi Chen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Yeshwanth Cherapanamjeri (UC Berkeley), Greg d'Eon (University of British Columbia), Xiaowu Dai (UC Berkeley), Ilyas Fatkhullin (ETH Zurich), Max Fishelson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Nic Fishman (Oxford University), Spencer Frei (UC Berkeley), Denizalp Goktas (Brown University), Noah Golowich (Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Google), Wenshuo Guo (UC Berkeley), Wei Hu (UC Berkeley), Yujia Jin (Stanford University), Poonam Kesarwani (UC Berkeley), Kshitij Kulkarni (UC Berkeley), Taylor Lundy (University of British Columbia), Chinmay Maheshwari (UC Berkeley), Jeffrey Negrea (University of Toronto), Argyris Oikonomou (Yale University), Shishir Patil (UC Berkeley), Binghui Peng (Columbia University), Juan Perdomo (UC Berkeley), Giorgia Ramponi (ETH Zurich), Nicholas Recker (Purdue University), Abhishek Shetty (UC Berkeley), Stelios Stavroulakis (UC Irvine), Enayat Ullah (Johns Hopkins University), Jan van den Brand (UC Berkeley), Guanghui Wang (Georgia Institute of Technology), Yixin Wang (UC Berkeley), Chen-Yu Wei (University of Southern California), Kunhe Yang (UC Berkeley), Zhuoran Yang (UC Berkeley), Xuezhou Zhang (Princeton University), Eric Zhao (UC Berkeley), Weiqiang Zheng (Yale University)


Jan. 24Jan. 28, 2022


Vasilis Syrgkanis (Microsoft Research; chair), Constantinos Daskalakis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dylan Foster (Microsoft Research), Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley), Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia University), Éva Tardos (Cornell University)
Feb. 11, 2022


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 5, 2022


Dylan Foster (Microsoft Research; 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. 

 Subscribe to the program calendar.

Past Internal Program Activities

Tuesday, May 10th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Ioannis Anagnostides (Carnegie Mellon University)
Wednesday, May 4th 3:30 pm4:30 pm
Richard Guo (University of Cambridge)
Thursday, April 28th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Kevin Leyton-Brown (University of British Columbia)
Wednesday, April 27th 3:30 pm4:30 pm
Yanjun Han (UC Berkeley)
Tuesday, April 26th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Yu Bai (Salesforce AI)
Thursday, April 21st 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Michael I. Jordan (UC Berkeley)
Thursday, April 21st 10:00 am11:30 am
Vidya Muthukumar (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Wednesday, April 20th 3:30 pm4:30 pm
Tuesday, April 19th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Tianyi Lin (UC Berkeley)
Thursday, April 14th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Thursday, April 14th 10:00 am11:30 am
Lydia Liu (UC Berkeley)
Wednesday, April 13th 3:30 pm4:30 pm
Manxi Wu (UC Berkeley)
Tuesday, April 12th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Denizalp (Deni) Goktas (Brown University) and Juan Carlos Perdomo (UC Berkeley)
Thursday, April 7th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Yang Cai (Yale)
Thursday, April 7th 10:00 am11:30 am
Tijana Zrnic (UC Berkeley)
Wednesday, April 6th 3:30 pm4:30 pm
Eric Mazumdar (Caltech)
Tuesday, April 5th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Yujia Jin (Stanford) and Lu Jiang (Google)
Thursday, March 24th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Vidya Muthukumar (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Tuesday, March 22nd 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Chen-yu Wei (University of Southern California)
Tuesday, March 22nd 11:00 am12:30 pm
Vidya Muthukumar (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Ioannis Panageas (UC Irvine)
Thursday, March 17th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Jeff Shamma (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Thursday, March 17th 10:00 am11:30 am
Korinna Frangias (UC Berkeley) and Ellen Vitercik (Carnegie Mellon University)
Thursday, March 10th 2:00 pm3:00 pm
Gauthier Gidel (Université de Montréal)
Thursday, March 10th 10:00 am11:30 am
Emilio Calvano (University of Rome - Tor Vergata)
Thursday, February 17th 10:00 am11:30 am
Blair Bilodeau (University of Toronto)
Tuesday, February 15th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Binghui Peng (Columbia University), Kiran Vodrahalli (Columbia University)
Tuesday, February 8th 11:00 am12:30 pm
Dimitris Tsipras (Stanford) and Sir. Marc Lanctot (DeepMind)
Friday, January 14th 3:00 pm5:00 pm