601.436/636 Algorithmic Game Theory - Spring 2018

Instructor: Michael Dinitz
Lecture: T Th 3:00 - 4:15 pm, Gilman 132
Office Hours: Tuesday 9:30 - 10:30am, and by appointment


Course Description: This course provides an introduction to algorithmic game theory: the study of games from the perspective of algorithms and theoretical computer science. There will be a particular focus on games that arise naturally from economic interactions involving computer systems (such as economic interactions between large-scale networks, online advertising markets, etc.), but there will also be broad coverage of games and mechanisms of all sorts. Topics covered will include a) complexity of computing equilibria and algorithms for doing so, b) (in)efficiency of equilibria, and c) algorithmic mechanism design. Students may receive credit for 600.473 or 600.673, but not both. Pre-req: 600.363/463 or permission.

Textbook: Algorithmic Game Theory, Nisan, Roughgarden, Tardos, and Vazirani, Cambridge University Press, 2007. username: agt1user, password: camb2agt.


The following is a tentative schedule. As the class proceeds, there will likely be changes and modifications.

Date Topic Reference Notes
 Jan 30   Introduction. What is AGT? Basic Game Theory   Chapter 1, Lecture notes from Stanford    
 Feb 1   Two-Player Zero-sum Games   Chapters 1.4.2, 3.1, 3.2 
 Feb 6   Algorithms for Two-Player Games   Chapters 2.3, 3.2 - 3.6    
 Feb 7   Hardness of Computing Nash: PPAD   Chapters 2.1 - 2.6, Lecture Notes from Stanford 
 Feb 13    Potential Games and PNE; Hierarchy of Equilibria   Chapters 1.3, 19.3.1, 19.3.2    
 Feb 15   No-Regret and Coarse Correlated Equilibria   Chapters 4.1-4.4, Lecture Notes from Stanford  HW1 released
 Feb 20   No-Regret and Coarse Correlated Equilibria (continued)   Chapters 4.1-4.4, Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Feb 22   No-Swap-Regret and Correlated Equilibria   Chapters 4.4, 4.5 Lecture Notes from Stanford  HW1 due
 Feb 27   Introduction to Inefficiency of Equilibria   Chapter 17    
 Mar 1    Routing Games   Chapter 18  HW2 released
 Mar 6   No class - Mike out of town       
 Mar 8   No class - Mike out of town    
 Mar 13   Smooth Games   Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Mar 15   Facility Location Game   Chapter 19.4  HW2 due
 Mar 20   No class - Spring Break       
 Mar 22   No class - Spring Break    
 Mar 27   Connection Game, Strong Nash   Chapter 19.3, Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Mar 29   Load Balancing   Chapter 20   HW3 released 
 Apr 3   Introduction to Mechanism Design   Chapters 9.1, 9.3.1, 9.3.2, 9.3.5, Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Apr 5   Single-Parameter Environments (Myerson's Lemma)   Chapters 9.5.4, 9.5.5, Lecture Notes from Stanford   HW3 due 
 Apr 3   Knapsack Auctions and the Revelation Principle   Chapters 9.4.3, 12.1, 12.2, Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Apr 12   Revenue Maximizing Auctions   Chapters 13.1, 13.2, Lecture Notes from Stanford. Optional: Chapter 3.3 from Hartline's book.   HW4 released 
 Apr 17   "Simple" Auctions and Bulow-Klemperer   Chapters 4.2, 5.1, 5.2.1 of Hartline's book, and Lecture Notes from Stanford    
 Apr 19   VCG and General Mechanism Design   Chapter 9.3.3, Lecture Notes from Stanford  HW4 due 
 Apr 24   Combinatorial Auctions, Spectrum Auctions   Chapters 11.1, 11.2 Lecture Notes from Stanford on Spectrum Auctions   HW5 released 
 Apr 26   Mechanisms Without Money   Chapters 10.3, 10.4    
 May 1   Online Auctions   Chapter 16.1, Slides from Maryland. Optional: Chapter 16.2, 16.3.    
 May 3   Voting Schemes and Social Choice   Chapter 9.2   HW5 due 


Please submit homeworks using Gradescope.

Additional Resources

Some texts that are related to topics we will cover. They are useful for further study in this field. Similar courses with nice notes.