NSF CAREER: The Symbiosis of Graphical Models and Games

Overview ("Quad Chart")


Many natural, social and engineered systems exhibit or facilitate complex behavior. Such behavior often results from the deliberate actions of, and interactions between, a large number of individuals. The need to study behavior in complex systems of network-structured interactions in large populations promotes interest in computational game-theoretic models.

Graphical games build on classical models in game theory, as well as compact, structured representations in probabilistic graphical models. The result is a practical and computationally amenable model to handle networked large-population systems.

The creation of technology for scientists and policy makers to study and work with large real-world complex systems of (strategic) interactions requires further advances in graphical games and models. The project seeks to fill knowledge gaps by advancing computational aspects of game theory, graphical models and machine learning, and laying the foundation for a systematic two-way knowledge transfer between computational game theory and graphical models.

The research program strengthens the connection between graphical models and game theory by casting probabilistic inference problems as equilibrium computation, creating algorithms to learn games from behavioral data, and characterizing equilibrium structure and computation.

The current educational program involves two main components: (1) the infusion of the research results into general education, at all levels, via both new course development, and integration into existing courses taught by the PI and others in the Department of Computer and Information Science (CIS) at the University of Michigan – Dearborn (UMD); and (2) a concerted effort to improve collaborations between CIS and other UMD departments in colleges outside the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), of which CIS is part, such as the Public Humanities program in the College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters (CASL), and also at the Ann Arbor campus of the larger University of Michigan system (e.g., through the Michigan Institute for Data Science, or MIDAS for short). The previous educational program included (1) a concerted effort to bridge the Departments of Economics and Computer Science at Stony Brook University (my former institution); and (2) collaborations through the Center for Game Theory in Economics and the International Summer Festival on Game Theory, held annually at Stony Brook, which would serve as conduits for outreach and dissemination.


Luis E. Ortiz (PI)

Current Participants

Former Participants

Relevant Publications, Preprints, and Poster Presentations

Other Partially Related Publications

Some Relevant/Related Invited Talks and Other Presentations

(The following excludes some presentations already mentioned above.)

SOFTWARE (Prototypes)

Most software products/prototypes listed below are currently available only upon request


Some currently available only upon request


National Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1643006 (transferred from Grant Number 1054541). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.