Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fall Semester 2005 Mod B - Uncertainty & Strategic Decision Making

The last class I took in Fall 2005 was Uncertainty and Strategic Decision Making. One of my least favorite teachers taught this class ... Michael Davis ... the same one who taught the econ class the year before. Now let me qualify that statement. I don't dis-like his lectures. On the contrary ... they are very interesting and entertaining, but I don't think he does a good job at actually teaching concepts ... he is so disorganized and flies by the seat of his pants, that the lectures are filled with funny anecdotes, the real important content is briefly and basically covered. He doesn't delve into the real important subject matter. Rather he provides a broad smattering of basic information and then moves on.

The reason I say this is because when it comes to his finals, I find that I know the basics, but he hands out advanced problems. I'm probably completly wrong on this ... it could be that I just don't feel like I need to study in his classes (or simply don't know what to study) and therefore I am unprepared for the final.

Uncertainty and Strategic Decision Making

The content of the class was very interesting. But as I said above, I found myself unprepared for the final. We talked a lot about decision trees, game theory, prisoner's dilemma, two pigs in a box, etc. I guess the reason I like the content is because it is all about games and strategy on playing those games. The lectures were entertaining and interesting.

We had one case that we worked on as a group. We did OK on that one. Then we had the final. I felt like I did OK on the final. There were a few topics that I was unprepared for just because he expected us to know everything. Most teachers tell you what you should focus on when you study for the final. Davis never does.

I got a B in the class.

The 2nd half of this class is Game Theory. I'll be taking this class next mod.

And one final note about Davis. I noticed that Davis taught both international finance classes last Summer term ... I'm signed up for both of them this Summer term! I am praying that he won't teach them.

Spring 2006 Update

Our last negotiations class was last night. It was a very interesting class. She debriefed us on the Working Women case. I got yet another B+. I have a solid B+ in that class right now. Hopefully last night's case and the final will bump me up to an A-.

After the debrief, we did the Harborco case. It was a six-way negotiation. I had the easiest role. All I had to do was sit back and let Harborco do all the talking. I would pipe in once in a while to the defense of Harborco, but other than that, I sat back. Any deal was better than my BATNA. Everyone else had a hard time getting above their BATNA. The negotiations were extremely difficult. We thought that there were possibly 3 or 4 solutions. When she debriefed us, it turned out that there were 55 solutions! Everyone was amazed. But the point of it was that when there are so many parties and issues involved, everyone is overloaded with information and decisions become difficult.

She also talked about how Harborco had the power to stand up there and push his agenda. She said that the first thing Harborco should have done was get the pen and in big letters write down on the board what he wanted ... to anchor everyone else. She said that if Harborco did that, then everyone else should do the same thing ... to get their interests represented visually. If they didn't, then Harborco could push everone around.

My BATNA was 30 points. I ended up with 53. I hope I get an A- on this one ... it would sure help.

Excel modeling ... I went over my final again yesterday and started thinking about how I'd approach the 3rd part of the problem. I came up with a few ideas, but I'm not exactly sure how to implement them. This will be my main question for Snir on Monday.

Tonight we're meeting for our last case. I hope it won't take too long.

Quixote Update

The next chapter picked up where the previous left off ... the sword fight between the Basque and Quixote. The Basque gave Quixote a pretty big hit on the head that cut Quixote's ear. Quixote gave it right back to the Basque. He fell down and Quixote left him there.

Quixote & Panza left the situation and headed for the woods. Panza tells Quixote that he needs to stop the bleeding. Quixote says that he knows the recipie for healing severed limbs and other mortal wounds. He says he learned it from reading a book. Panza is amazed at this and says that he'd rather have this recipie than the island. Panza is also worried about the Brotherhood ... some sort of police. Quixote tells him not to worry about them. Next Panza worries about the food. Quixote says that he can go without eating real food for a long time. There is a funny exchange about this topic, but I won't go into details.

Chess Update

I played one game last night. My wife was in bed and kept complaining about the bright light from the monitor ... she can fall asleep watching TV, but she can't fall asleep with the computer on?? I don't get it either. Anyway ... I did by best to concentrate on this 2 12 blitz game. He actually had a pretty good little move on me that exchanged a knight and a rook for my queen. But I was still up on material. I think I had a rook, both bishops and a knight to his knight, rook and queen. I think I was up a few pawns too. He did his best to mate me, but I avoided it well and used my free bishop and rook to pressure his king. His flag finally fell and I escaped with a victory. Even if he had more time, I was close to skewering his queen with my rook.

And now for the 2/23/06 puzzle. 36. ...? Well, if white moves first, the game is over. So black needs a check to keep going. Re1 would prevent white from mating. I think it would also put a lot of pressure on the king.

I didn't see it. I thought about it, but not long enough. Rg5+ is the correct move. It turns out to be an excellent move. Click on the link to see the end of the game. Pretty cool.

I'll be studying tonight on campus. When I get home, I'll probably play a few games.

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