Cosma Shalizi 1, game theory 0

From Cosma’s review of a new book on social network analysis:

What game theorists somewhat disturbingly call rationality is assumed throughout—in other words, game players are assumed to be hedonistic yet infinitely calculating sociopaths endowed with supernatural computing abilities.


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4 thoughts on “Cosma Shalizi 1, game theory 0

  1. Craig says:

    Wait, that’s not true?

  2. majordomo says:

    What really piqued my interest was Shalizi’s claim that Kleinberg’s HITS algorithm was “more mathematically and conceptually elegant” than Google’s PageRank algorithm. Interestingly, the HITS algorithm was part of IBM’s CLEVER project (, and a search engine based partially on the algorithm (called “Teoma”) was launched in 2000. It was then acquired by AskJeeves a year later, and used to power The paper this search engine is based on is given below:

    Click to access www99.pdf

    By the way, Teoma is still online (, and I remember using it circa 2006 and I don’t recall coming away with the impression that it was better (or even as good as) Google. But then again, Google’s search algorithm has evolved to the point that very little of it is actually based on PageRank.

  3. nichole says:

    Hey, yeah!

  4. S/he wants the Margaritaville, so what’s a girl to do? « Nuclear Chicken Collusion says:

    […] criticized for assuming players are “strategic and perfectly rational” — the latest by Cosma Shalizi, according to Jordan Ellenberg at Quomodocumque: What game theorists somewhat disturbingly call […]

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