CS294 (section 1):

Seminar on Algorithmic Aspects of Game Theory

Instructor:  Christos H. Papadimitriou
Soda 389,  christos@cs, (510) 642-1559

Office Hours:  Wednesdays 2-3, and by appointment

Meets:  Tuesdays 3:30-5:30pm, in Soda 306

Course  Format:  Lectures by the instructor, occasionally by guests.

Course Requirements:

Course Description

There have been many instances in the recent literature in which algorithmic thinking is combined with game-theoretic, or, more generally, economic concepts to address problems arising in the context of the Internet.  The purpose of this course is to seize this moment and promote this interaction.  The emphasis will be on mathematically sophisticated techniques in the interface between algorithms and game theory, as well as their applications to the Internet.  Topics will include some of the following (the list will crystallize gradually,with references and/or links to documents):

Lectures and Notes

Friday January 19:  Introduction  A talk at SODA 2001 (powerpoint presentation)

Tuesday January 23:  Existence of equilibria

Tuesday January 30:  Variants of the concepts of "game" and "rational play"

Tuesday February 6:  Social choice theory

Tuesday February 13:  Mechanism design

Tuesday February 20:  Algorithmic mechanism design (see papers by Nisan; also, notes)

Tuesday February 27:  Scott Shenker will lecture on  Learning and Implementation on the Internet
(see also  two related papers and his slides from the lecture)

Tuesday March 6:  Cost sharing in multicasts (see paper by  Feigenbaum et al. and other papers below)

Tuesday March 13:  Combinatorial auctions (papers below, and  notes)

Tuesday March 20:  First half:  Combinatorial auctions (continued)  Second half:  Talk by Anna Karlin on spectral methods in information retrieval (first paper in her web page).

Tuesday March 27:  Spring Break

Tuesday April 3:     Cancelled!!  (No lecture on Thursday either....)

Tuesday April 10:   Coalitional games and solution concepts

Tuesday April 17:   Coalitional games and solution concepts (cont.)

Tuesday April 24:   Multi-objective optimization

Tuesday May 1:     Powerlaws in the Internet, the Web, and the Economy
                                    (see  lecture notes, the papers below, and  this course at UMass )

Tuesday May 8:     Continued, probably

Problem Sets

First problem set, due February 20  IMPORTANT ADDITION:  Please include in your problem set solutions a paragraph with your thoughts about the project.


Two books I recommend:

Osborne and Rubinstein, A Course in Game Theory

David Kreps, A Course in Microeconomic Theory

The following papers will either be covered in the lectures, or are suggested readings for the project part of the course.

Papers on algorithmic mechanism design:
 Algorithms for Selfish Agents by Nisan
 Algorithmic Mechanism Design by Nisan and Ronen
 A solution to Vickrey shortest paths by Suri and Hershberger

Papers on internet congestion and game theory/economics:
 Resource Pricing and the Evolution of Congestion Control by Gibbens and Kelly
 A Modest Proposal for Preventing Internet Congestion by Odlyzko
 Optimization Problems in Congestion Control by Karp, Koutsoupias, Papadimitriou, Shenker
 Differential QoS and Pricing in Networks by Key and McAuley
 Pricing Congestible Resources, Chapter 4 by Varian
 Stackelberg Scheduling by Roughgarden

Papers on the price of anarchy:
 Worst-case Equilibria by Koutsoupias and Papadimitriou
 How Bad is Selfish Routing? by Roughgarden and Tardos

Papers on combinatorial auctions:
A survey
Bidding and Allocation in Combinatorial Auctions by Nisan
 Iterative Combinatorial Auctions: Theory and Practice by Parkes and Ungar
 Optimal Auction Design by Parkes
 Graph-theoretic auctions by Akcoglu, Aspnes, et al.

Papers on multicast auctions:
Incentive-compatible On-line Auctions by Lavi and Nisan
"Cost Sharing of a Homogeneous Good: Average versus Serial Methods," by Moulin and Shenker
 Sharing the Cost of Multicast Transmissions by Feigenbaum, Papadimitriou, Shenker
 Strategyproofness via LP Duality   by Vijay Vazirani and Jain
Auctions of Digital Goods by Goldberg, Hartline, and Wright

Papers on repeated games:
 Bounded Rationality and Computational Complexity by Papadimitriou and Yannakakis
 Rational Learning and Nash Equilibrium by Kalai and Lehrer

Papers on multi-objective optimization:
The Approximability of Trade-offs by Papadimitriou and Yannakakis

An application of social choice to document ranking
Rank Aggregation, Spam Resistance, and Social Choice by Dwork Kumar Moni Naor and Sivakumar

Papers on power laws:
 Stochastic models of the web graph by Kumar et al.
 Powerlaws in the internet topology by Faloutsos3
 Highly optimized tolerance by Carlson and Doyle ( plus another paper by them )
 Sally Floyd's web page on self-similarity in the Internet

Papers on game theory:
My STOC 2001 paper (most topics in the class reviewed).
Strategic Information Transmission by Crawford and Sobel
A survey paper:  Games, Computers, and OR by Kalai
A dynamics that, in some sense and cases, converges to the Nash equilibrium:
Nash Convergence of Gradient Dynamics in General-Sum Games, by Singh Kearns and Mansour
A representation of games, with an algorithm for computing Nash equibria in some
special cases  Graphical models in game theory Kearns Littman and Singh