Game Theory For Dummies

Yamac Eren Ay
10 min readSep 7
A social network as a multi-agent system, Source:

What do Wikipedia authors, soccer players, and restaurant staff have in common? No, it’s not entertainment. Yes, it’s the concept of multi-agent systems. These systems capture interactions among diverse actors, each with their own agenda. Whether it’s crafting knowledge, chasing victory, or delivering meals, every actor plays a unique role in such systems.

Centralized systems vs. multi-agent systems with autonomous agents, Source:

In centralized planning methods, a central algorithm holds complete control over all agents and determines the best actions for them, given that agents are mere components of the central algorithm.

However, as agents become more complex with their own beliefs, goals, and so forth, planning requires a much deeper analysis of the social interactions among agents.

Take a soccer match, for instance. The home team’s striker wants to score goals, while the rival’s goalkeeper aims to block them. Such conflicting interests are at the core of multi-agent dynamics.

In such cases, the central controller falls short in considering all available information, also the necessity of more self-governing, decentralized models arises.

In multi-agent systems, achieving harmony is like conducting an orchestra. The chef does not force the musicians to play the music as in planning, she incentivizes each musician to play their own parts. Amid clashing goals and self-interest, the concept of social welfare emerges. Here, individual goals blend into a collective purpose, often diverging from personal desires. It’s about orchestrating desires to create a sense of unity.

Hands forming a circle, Source:

Soccer games, collaborative writing, and bustling restaurants all distill into multi-agent systems, where personal ambitions intersect and collide. It’s a realm where chasing individual dreams must harmonize with the bigger picture.

In this series, we embark on a journey through multi-agent systems and resource allocation. We’ll decode utility, preferences, and equilibrium, unveiling the fabric of social…

Yamac Eren Ay

I love to write articles about the most underrated topics in computer science