The 6th World Congress of the International Game Theory Society, Games2020, was held in Budapest, Hungary, from 19 to 23 July 2021. The ELKH Centre for Economic & Regional Studies (KRTK) played an important role in organizing the event, and the ELKH Secretariat provided financial support. The Games2020 program, postponed from last year, was organized in honour of the centenary of the birth of János Harsányi, a Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian economist.
“We are delighted to be involved in the creation and organization of such an outstanding international scientific event. I think that the internationally recognized achievments of the Game Theory Research Group, supported by HAS’s Momentum program, shows that it is worth investing in knowledge,” emphasized Dr Imre Fertő, Director General of the KRTK.
“We are honoured that the Game Theory Society has chosen Hungary as the venue for the 6th World Congress on Game Theory. Game theory is a particularly important discipline for us, not only because of János Neumann and János Harsányi, but also because our country is once again at the international forefront in this field,” said Dr Á. László Kóczy, scientific advisor of the Institute for Economics of the KRTK, head of the MTA-KRTK Momentum Game Theory Research Group, professor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and chairman of the conference organizing committee.
Held at the Budapest Congress Centre in a hybrid – online and live – format, the World Congress was attended by the elite of the profession, including professors from the world’s most prestigious universities and researchers from leading institutes. Among those present were the Nobel prize-winner Oliver Hart, one of the authors of the so-called principal-agent problem between owners and managers, Matthew O. Jackson, a well-known network researcher, author of the popular book “The Human Network”, and current president of the Game Theory Society, and the mathematician-economist Hervé Moulin, scholar of games and social decision making, and father of the game known as “beauty contest”. The program was also attended by Stanford economics professor B. Douglas Bernheim, Viennese mathematician Josef Hofbauer and Aislinn Bohren, who gave the Lloyd Shapley Lecture in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a young researcher in the analysis of dynamic learning processes arising from misinterpretation.
The week-long event brought together some of the most prominent international game theorists to discuss topics such as: what decision-theoretic games influence cooperation and corruption? How is the economics of community data evolving? What donation dynamics should be expected in community funding? How do people rationalize their past decisions and what strategic models can be used to play hide-and-seek in networks?
The quadrennial event always welcomes eminent researchers and experts in a different country. The World Congress was held in Maastricht in 2016, Istanbul in 2012 and Evanston in 2008.
Game theory in brief
Game theory is an interdisciplinary branch of mathematics that studies decision situations. The field is closely linked to Hungary as the foundations of its methodology were laid by János Neumann in a 1928 paper, and János Harsányi, also a Nobel laureate, who was one of the best-known researchers of game theory.
As an indication of the importance of the field, 12 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in recent decades for research in game theory. The methodology is a mathematical representation of strategic interactions between individuals, used primarily in economics, but applicable to anything from military arms races to political science and biology. It helps to find a fair, optimal or stable solution for the parties involved in many complex situations. For example, planning for transnational responsibility in connection with the pollution of a river, designing the most sensible admissions scoring system for higher education applicants, or even predicting the impact of Brexit on the EU’s power relations.