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(CS/SS 241a) Introduction to SISL:
Topics in Algorithmic game theory


Thanks for a great term!


Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30-3:55pm, Baxter 127


Adam Wierman, 258 Jorg, OFFICE HOURS: on request
John Ledyard, 102 Baxter, OFFICE HOURS: on request
Jason Marden, 335 Moore

Course Description

Over the last few years there has been enormous activity at the interface of computer science, game theory, economics, and control. In this course, our goal is to survey some important of the important new areas that are emerging in this field. Some of the topics we will study include:

This course is intended for graduate students and will be organized as a topics course. Post-docs are also encouraged to attend lectures on topics of interest to them, and need not be registered to do so. Registered students will be expected to present multiple lectures in addition to completing homework assignments. It is expected that students are comfortable with the basics of game theory, graph theory, and probability theory.

Required Text

Algorithmic Game Theory, Edited by Nisan, Roughgarden, Tardos, Vazirani


Collaboration vs. cheating

You will receive one homework every few weeks. These are meant to reinforce the material that we are learning during that time, so please start immediately. Please do not search the web for help on the homework problems. It is difficult to develop good homework problems, and thus you may come across similar problems if you search the web for help.

You are strongly encouraged to collaborate with your classmates on these problems, but each person must write up the final solutions individually. You should note on your homework specifically which problems were a collaborative effort and with whom.

Presentation policies

The ideal presentation will cover a few results from either a book chapter or paper and then highlight interesting extensions and open problems that remain. Presentations should be 60-80min in length and may be done individually or in groups of two. Presentations may use any combination projector/whiteboard desired. In order to prepare for the presentation, students are required to discuss the topic and book chapter/paper that will be presented with one of the professors outside of class.

The grade of the presentation will (in large part) be determined by the audience of the presentation. Every member of the audience will complete this form. The grade will be a weighted average of the audience and professor scores, where the professor scores count as 3 student scores.

(TENTATIVE) Course outline


Topic & References


Jan 8

Game theoretic approaches to distributed optimization and control

(in)Efficiency of games

Jan 10

A load balancing allocation game:
Price of anarchy vs. price of stability

HW1 out

Jan 15

Routing games:
Models and Examples.

Jan 17

Routing games:
Understanding and reducing the price of anarchy.
HW1 due
HW2 out

Jan 22

Student presentation:
More than you wanted to know about Braess' paradox
Julian and Mohamed
[pdf1] [pdf2]

Jan 24

Student presentation:
Dustin and Marjan
Network formation games.
  • Chapter 19

Strategic learning in games

Jan 29

Introduction to learning dynamics (I) HW2 due

Jan 31

Introduction to learning dynamics (II) HW3 out

Feb 5

Student presentation:
Cory, Lina, and Sherwin
[ppt1] [ppt2]
  • "The Evolution of Conventions," by Peyton Young
  • "Joint Strategy Fictitious Play with Inertia for Potential Games," by J.R. Marden, G. Aslan, and J.S. Shamma

Feb 7

Guest Lecture: Calibration tests
Federico Echenique and Eran Shmaya
  • "An analog of the minimax theorem for vector payoffs," Blackwell
  • "A proof of calibration via Blackwell's approachability theorem," Foster
  • "Asymptotic calibration," Foster and Vohra
  • "Many inspections are manipulable," Eran Shmaya

Feb 12

Student presentation:
Julian and Mohamed
[pdf1] [pdf2]
  • "Online calibrated forecasts: Memory efficiency versus universality for learning in games," S. Mannor, J. Shamma, and G. Arslan

Mechanism Design

Feb 14

Goals and models
dominant strategy mechanisms, revelation principle, VCG mechanisms
HW3 due
HW4 out

Feb 19

Bayesian mechanisms

Feb 21

No Class

Feb 26

Nash mechanisms &
a Student presentation

[pdf1] [ppt2]
  • "False-name-proof mechanisms for hiring a team," A. Itwasaki, D. Kempe, Y. Saito, M. Salek, M. Yokoo

Prediction Markets

Feb 28

markets, pari-mutual, polls, scoring rules experiments and applications
HW4 due

Mar 4

Student presentation:
Dustin and Marjan
[ppt1] [ppt2]
  • "Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets" by Plott and Sunder
  • "Information, trade, and common knowledge" by Milgrom and Stokey

Sponsored search

Mar 6

[pdf1] [pdf2] [pdf3]
  • B. Edelman, M. Ostrovsky, and M. Schwarz. "Internet advertizing and the generalized second-price auction: selling billions of dollars worth of keywords."
  • S. Lahaie and D. Pennock. "Revenue analysis of a family of ranking rules for keyword auctions."
  • Varian, Hal R. Forthcoming. "Position Auctions." International Journal of Industrial Organization.
  • Leonard, Herman B. 1983. "Elicitation of Honest Preferences for the Assignment of Individuals to Positions." Journal of Political Economy, 91(3): 461-479.

Mar 11

Student presentation:
Cory and Sherwin
[ppt1] [ppt2]
  • I. Ashlagi, D. Monderer, and M. Tennenholtz. "Mediators in position auctions."
  • "Z. Abrams, O. Mendelevitch, and J. Tomlin. "Optimal delivery of sponsored search advertisements subject to budget constraints."

Other relevant books

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