Logic, Probability, and Games

The seminar is concerned with applying formal methods to fundamental issues, with an emphasis on probabilistic reasoning, decision theory and games. In this context “logic” is broadly interpreted as covering applications that involve formal representations. The topics of interest have been researched within a very broad spectrum of different disciplines, including philosophy, statistics, economics, and computer science. The seminar is intended to bring together scholars from different fields of research so as to illuminate problems of common interest from different perspectives. Throughout each academic year, meetings are regularly presented by the members of the seminar and distinguished guest speakers. In the spring of 2014, the seminar also became an integral part of the University Seminars at Columbia University .

Haim Gaifman (Columbia)

Rohit Parikh (CUNY)

Yang Liu (Cambridge)

Robby Finley (Columbia)

Past speakers: Arif Ahmed, Juliet Floyd, Haim Gaifman, Stephan Hartmann, Daniel Kahneman, Edi Karni, Hannes Leitgeb, Bud Mishra, Eric Pacuit, Rohit Parikh, Teddy Seidenfeld, Gregory Wheeler.

Archive:  2014 – 2015  |  2013 – 2014

2015 – 2016 Meetings

December, 2015

Two Approaches to Belief Revision
Branden Fitelson (Rutgers University)
4:10 pm, Friday, December 18, 2015
Faculty House, Columbia University

Abstract. In this paper, we compare and contrast two methods for revising qualitative (viz., “full”) beliefs. The first method is a (broadly) Bayesian one, which operates (in its most naive form) via conditionalization and the minimization of expected inaccuracy. The second method is the AGM approach to belief revision. Our aim here is to provide the most straightforward explanation of the ways in which these two methods agree and disagree with each other. Ultimately, we conclude that AGM may be seen as more epistemically risk-seeking (in a sense to be made precise in the talk) than EUT (from the Bayesian perspective).

This talk is based on a joint work with Ted Shear.

November, 2015

Creolizing the Web
Bud Mishra (Courant Institute, NYU)
4:10 pm, Friday, November 20, 2015
Faculty House, Columbia University

Abstract. This talk will focus on a set of game theoretic ideas with applications to Computer, Biological and Social Sciences. We will primarily rely on a realistic formulation of classical information-asymmetric signaling games, in a repeated form, while allowing the agents to dynamically vary their utility functions. We will also explore the design and creolization of a new natural language system (“InTuit”) specifically designed for the web.

The talk will build on our earlier experience in the areas of systems biology (evolutionary models), game theory, data science, model checking, causality analysis, cyber security, insider threat, virtualization and data markets.

September, 2015

Awareness of Unawareness: A Theory of Decision Making in the Face of Ignorance
Edi Karni (Johns Hopkins University)
4:10 pm, Friday, September 25, 2015
Faculty House, Columbia University

Abstract.  In the wake of growing awareness, decision makers anticipate that they might acquire knowledge that, in their current state of ignorance, is unimaginable. Supposedly, this anticipation manifests itself in the decision makers’ choice behavior. In this paper we model the anticipation of growing awareness, lay choice-based axiomatic foundations to subjective expected utility representation of beliefs about the likelihood of discovering unknown consequences, and assign utility to consequences that are not only unimaginable but may also be nonexistent. In so doing, we maintain the flavor of reverse Bayesianism of Karni and Vierø (2013, 2015).