FRG: Semidefinite Optimization and Convex Algebraic Geometry

Group Meeting, San Diego, December 4-5, 2008


  • Pablo Parrilo (MIT)
  • Bernd Sturmfels (Berkeley)
  • Rekha Thomas (Washington)
  • Joao Gouveia (Washington)
  • Megan McCormick (Washington)
  • Philippe Rostalski (ETH)
  • Frank Vallentin (CWI)
  • Cynthia Vinzant (Berkeley)
  •   Hotel Information
      Name: La Jolla Shores Hotel (formerly Sea Lodeg)
      Phone: (858)459-8271

    Local Participants:

  • Jeremy Greene (UCSD)
  • Bill Helton (UCSD)
  • Igor Klep (UCSD)
  • Jiawang Nie (UCSD)
  • Mauricio de Oliveira (UCSD)
  • Ruth Williams (UCSD)
  • Program

      Thursday Dec 4:
        Place: TBA
        Departmental Colloquium Talk
        2:30 - 3:30  Pablo Parrilo
                     Title: Computing equilibria of continuous games
    There has been much recent interest in effective methods to compute Nash or
    correlated equilibria for finite games. In this talk we present an overview
    of some of our recent results for the computation of equilibria in games
    where the players have an infinite number of pure strategies. In particular,
    we discuss games where the payoff functions are a polynomial expression of
    the actions of the players. In the zero-sum case, we show that the value of
    the game, and the corresponding optimal mixed strategies, can be computed by
    solving a single semidefinite programming problem, thus providing a natural
    generalization of the well-known LP characterization of finite games. We
    also discuss some further extensions to the general nonzero sum case, for
    both Nash and correlated equilibria. Much of the material is joint work with
    Asu Ozdaglar and Noah Stein.
        Department Tea
        3:30 - 4:00
        FRG Group Discussion
            co-PIs each present  descriptions of various projects 
            each project gets 5 minutes max. Everyone gives ideas-opinions.
            Make requests for tomorrow's emphasis
        4:00 - 6:00pm
        Room: TBA
        Dinner at La Jolla Shores Hotel
        6:30 - 8:00:
        PI meeting  at the hotel
        8:00 - Business stuff
      Friday (Dec 5)
        Place: APM 6402
        Departmental Talks
         9:00 - 10:00  Rekha Thomas
                       Title: From Lovasz's theta body of a graph to convex algebraic geometry
        10:00 - 10:30  Philippe Rostalski
                       Title: TBA
        10:30 - 11:00  Frank Vallentin
                       Title: Approximating maxcut in infinite graphs
        11:00 - 12:00  Group discussion
        12:00 - 1:00   Lunch (Faculty club)
        Departmental Talks
         1:00 -  2:00  Bernd Sturmfels
                      Title: An invitation to algebraic statistics
    Algebraic statistics is concerned with the development of techniques in
    algebraic geometry, commutative algebra and combinatorics, to address
    problems in statistics and its applications. This lecture gives an
    elementary and self-contained introduction to this subject. Particular
    emphasis will be placed on connections to optimization.  Along the way,
    the speaker will shamelessly advertise his new book with Mathias Drton
    and Seth Sullivant, as well as an upcoming MSRI workshop.
        Informal  Group  Discussions. Speakers spend about 15 mins to 
        describe their research status and challenges, and then the
        group spends about 10 mins for discussions. 
         2:00 - 2:30  Group Discussion
         2:30 - 3:00  Joao Gouveia
         3:00 - 3:30  Cynthia Vinzant
         3:30 - 4:00  de Oliveira  
         4:00 - 4:30  Igor Klep
         4:30 - 5:00  Jiawang Nie   
         6:30 - 8:00    DINNER AT TOM HAMS (Harbor Island by airport)

    Contact Information

      Local orgainzers:
        Bill Helton (
        Jiawang Nie (
      Phone numbers:(858)534-2653