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Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


November 2017
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Events for 20 November 2017

Peter Thwaites: A New Graphical approach to Bayesian Games

12:00am, CM221

Many Bayesian games can be readily represented by graphical structures such as MAIDS
(Multi-agent influence diagrams). But the development of these representations has coincided
with concerns expressed regarding the application of Bayesian game theory to real
problems. This talk focuses on two of these concerns. Firstly, a player may assume that
an opponent is subjective expected utility maximizing (SEUM), but in many real games it is
improbable that they can know the exact quantitative form of this opponent’s utility function.
Secondly, many common Bayesian games have highly asymmetric game trees, and cannot
be fully or efficiently represented by a MAID.
To address these concerns we suggest the use of CEGs (Chain Event Graphs). These
were introduced in 2008 (Smith & Anderson, Artificial Intelligence) for the modelling of
probabilistic problems exhibiting significant asymmetry. They encode the conditional independence/
Markov structure of these problems completely through their topology, and have
been successfully used for both causal and decision analysis. We show here how causal
CEGs can be used to model asymmetric games. The players know the structure of the game,
but not the exact forms of other players’ utilities, and are SEUM conditioned on the information
available to them each time they make a decision. This means our solution technique
does not in general compute subgame perfect Nash equilibria, but the solutions reached will
be those that each player believes exists. We illustrate our ideas with an example of a game
between a government department and a group trying to radicalise members of the population.
The work in this talk is described in more detail in Thwaites & Smith: A graphical
method for simplifying Bayesian Games, Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 2017.

Contact for more information about this event.

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Music and Violence

1:00pm to 2:00pm, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor William Thompson (Macquarie University, Australia)

Contact for more information about this event.

Michael Magee: Uniform spectral gap in number theory

4:00pm, CM221

I'll begin by discussing Selberg's eigenvalue conjecture. This is an analog of the Riemann hypothesis for a special family of Riemann surfaces that feature heavily in number theory, for example in Wiles' proof of the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. I'll explain how in the last 10-15 years, number theorists have had to turn to Anosov dynamics to obtain the approximations to Selberg's conjecture that became relevant to emerging 'thin groups' questions about Apollonian circle packings and continued fractions. I will explain the spectral gap results I worked on in this area. Then if I have time, I'll explain how I am now looking for analogs of the Selberg conjecture in the setting of Teichmüller dynamics with yet more interesting number theory questions in mind.

Contact for more information about this event.

Tommaso Boschi: Searching for heavy (but not so heavy) neutrinos with the DUNE near Detector

5:00pm, OC218

Neutrinos have a non-zero mass, this is a very well established
concept. However, we are still far from understanding why. Also
numerous experiments have reported anomalous results in the last
decade, hinting at physics beyond the standard model. So, long story
short, there are strong motivations to modify (read extend) the
standard model.
In this talk, I will show a method to estimate the sensitivity of
future neutrino experiment (like DUNE) to searches of new physics in a
pseudo model-independent way.

Contact Daniel Martin for more information about this event.

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Capitalism, class inequity, and education justice in the Nordic countries: The myth of the Nordic model

5:30pm to 6:30pm, Josephine Butler College, Professor Dennis Beach (University of Gothenburg)

Contact for more information about this event.