Newsletter of the Game Theory Society 2014

In Memoriam: Harold W. Kuhn (1925-2014)

posted by Rakesh Vohra, 27 January 2015

Harold Kuhn passed away July 2nd, 2014. Members of the Society will recognize the name because of the integral role he played in the development of Game Theory. Robert Aumann, former president of the Society, writes:

"One can't call him game theory's father and mother - those were von Neumann and Morgenstern (respectively). But continuing with the family analogy, one might liken him to a particularly family-minded older brother. Not only did he make fundamental research contributions which continue to shape the field to this day, he contributed greatly - and very importantly - to the social fabric of the discipline."

Born in 1925, he came of age in the Princeton mathematics department when Giants, one is reliably informed, roamed the earth. Among his fellow students were John Nash, David Gale, Martin Shubik and Lloyd Shapley, John Milnor and John McCarthy. Genius, as plentiful as weeds.

Kuhn is famous for his contributions to both game theory and mathematical programming. I will recall three of them here. First, the paper with William Tucker and David Gale establishing the connection between the duality theorem of linear programming and equilibria of zero sum games. Second, Kuhn invented extensive form games with information sets and established the equivalence between behavior strategies and mixed strategies in extensive form games with perfect recall. Like the first result, Kuhn's Theorem (published in 1953) is so much a part of our mental furniture that it is a staple of homework sets in Game Theory classes. Third, the Kuhn-Tucker-Karush theorem for optimality. Members of the Society will recall that Karush's name did not always grace this theorem even though he had arrived at it in 1939 (Kuhn-Tucker is from 1951). How Kuhn responded is an example to us all. He wrote Karush:

"In March I am talking at an AMS Symposium on 'Nonlinear Programming - A Historical View.' Last summer I learned through reading Takayama's Mathematical Economics of your 1939 Master's Thesis and have obtained a copy. First, let me say that you have clear priority on the results known as the Kuhn-Tucker conditions (including the constraint qualification). I intend to set the record as straight as I can in my talk."

The letter closes with this paragraph:

"Dick Cottle, who organized the session, has been told of my plans to rewrite history and says 'you must be a saint' not to complain about the absence of recognition. Al Tucker remembers you from RAND, wonders why you never called this to his attention and sends his best regards."

Karush's reply, 6 days later, equally gracious:

"Thank you for your most gracious letter. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in wanting to draw attention to my early work. If you ask why I did not bring up the matter of priority before, perhaps the answer lies in what is now happening - I am not only going to get credit for my work, but I am going to be crowned a "saint".'

Interestingly, one of Kuhn's contributions to optimization was the Hungarian algorithm for the assignment problem (1955). This algorithm anticipated later primal-dual methods for optimization and was inspired by the work of Kőnig and Egerváry (hence Hungarian). It was discovered quite recently that Carl Jacobi (1890, posthumously) had derived the same algorithm. No doubt Harold Kuhn, wherever he might be, is setting the record straight.


to Jean Tirole for receiving The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2014 "for his analysis of market power and regulation".
Jean Tirole
Jean Tirole
Jean Tirole, who was the Game Theory Society's Oskar Morgenstern Lecturer at the 2008 Congress of the Society, has been awarded the 2014 Nobel memorial prize in Economics. Tirole is honored for his contributions to the study of oligopolies and how they should be regulated. In their summary of the scientific background of Tirole's contributions, the Nobel committee writes:

"The progress in these areas largely reflects two methodological breakthroughs: game theory and the theory of mechanism design."

As this is the 75th anniversary of the publication of von Neumann and Morgenstern's seminal book, it is interesting to reflect on the introductory paragraph in Chapter 1:

"It is well known what considerable and in fact unsurmounted difficulties this task involves given even a limited number of typical situations, as, for example, in the case of the exchange of goods, direct or indirect, between two or more persons, of bilateral monopoly, of duopoly, of oligopoly, and of free competition."

With the award to Tirole, the Nobel committee has now honored work that has advanced our understanding of each and every one of the topics that von Neumann and Morgenstern listed in their introduction.

Call for Papers - Journal of Dynamics and Games, Special Issue on Matching: Theory and Applications

(posted September 30, 2014)

The Journal of Dynamics and Games (IJGT) is pleased to invite paper submissions for Matching: Theory and Applications, a Special Issue dedicated to Marilda Sotomayor on the occasion of her 70th birthday.

Marilda Sotomayor is a foundational figure in the development of matching theory and applications in economics with seminal contributions on the structural, game theoretic and mechanism design aspects of the basic model and its extensions. Her volume Two-Sided Matching (1992), co-authored with 2012 Nobel laureate Roth is the singular textbook in the area, which was awarded the prestigious Frederick W. Lanchester Prize. Papers are welcome on all aspects of matching games and markets, theoretical as well as applied, including the analysis and design of institutions or marketplaces, e.g. for jobs or school choice, for houses or organ exchange.

Please submit your paper directly to one of the invited editors using their email:

Ahmet Alkan
Sabanci University, Turkey, Email:
Jesús David Pérez Castrillo
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, Email:
Myrna Wooders
Vanderbilt University, USA, Email:
John Wooders
University of Technology, Australia, Email:

Submission deadline: 28 February 2015
Journal webpage:

Call for Papers - IJGT Special Issue in Honor of Abraham Neyman

(posted May 29, 2014)

The International Journal of Game Theory (IJGT) is pleased to announce a special issue in honor of Professor Abraham Neyman, in recognition of his important contributions to game theory and on the occasion of his 66th birthday in 2015.
We solicit papers for the special issue within the entire scope of IJGT and in particular within the research interests of Abraham Neyman. The deadline for submission of papers is December 1, 2014. Authors submitting their work to the special issue should indicate in the cover letter that the submission is for the special issue in honor of Abraham Neyman. Submissions will be subject to normal refereeing procedures and to the usual standards of the IJGT.
Olivier Gossner, Ori Haimanko and Eilon Solan are the editors of the special issue.

Israeli Chapter of the Game Theory Society - Elections

(posted April 9, 2014)

The Israeli Chapter of the Game Theory Society elected Abraham Neyman as the President for the years 2014-2016, and re-elected Eilon Solan as the Executive Officer for a second (and last) term.

Game Theory Software

(posted April 9, 2014)

Try out the Game Theory Explorer software for the interactive creation and equilibrium analysis of (currently two-player) games in extensive and strategic form.

See also our resources on algorithms for game theory; further suggestions welcome!

GAMES 2016 in Maastricht, The Netherlands, 24-28 July 2016

(mailed to GTS members by Roger Myerson, President of the Game Theory Society on Monday, 19 August 2013)

Dear members of the Game Theory Society,

the Fifth World Congress of the Game Theory Society is scheduled for Sunday-Thursday 24-28 July 2016, to be held in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Please mark these dates in your calendar!

Scholars can meet for such global exchanges of ideas only with the help and support of major academic institutions. Our Society was fortunate this year to receive an offer to host GAMES 2016 from Maastricht University as well as from several other outstanding institutions. Let us all plan to help make the 2016 World Congress an important event that will mark the progress of our field from 2012.

Check out our book listing (and send suggestions) - new book:

Game Theory

Michael Maschler, Eilon Solan, and Shmuel Zamir

2013 Cambridge University Press

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