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MSc Programme ``Computing Science" 2010-2011

Seminar: Algorithms, Games and the Internet (MSAGI)


Course overview

Many internet applications involve (large) pools of users which all strive for their share in the available services or resources, on their own or as groups. Some ten years ago it became clear that these situations, well-known in classical game theory, can be attacked (and analysed) algorithmically, with many possible assumptions about how parties cooperate and about the desired economics of the game. Can one always find algorithmic mechanisms that are viable, from a practical viewpoint? How can algorithmic mechanisms be used e.g. to create auctions over the Internet? Algorithm game theory and mechanism design are now the most exciting research domains in computer science, with companies like Google and Yahoo depending on the novel mechanisms that are developed. In the seminar we will explore the beautiful techniques that are at the basis of the field, aiming to eventually understand some of the concrete algorithmic methods as applied by some of the big information companies on the web.

Class schedule


The seminar is part of the MSc program `Computing Science' and is to be taken after you have completed at least several of the regular courses in the program. If you have not, see your MSc-program advisor: you may not be admissable to this seminar yet. (The seminar will be self-contained, but some basics also occur in the course on Multi-Agent Systems. No prerequisites from this course are needed, but please inform the instructor if you have taken this course.)


The seminar is based on the book The book is required and should be at your disposal from the very start of the seminar, to study the weekly readings from the very beginning. (The book can be previewed for free here.) We will treat a selection of chapters from this book. Additional material will be listed in the weekschedule as the seminar develops.

Course Work

Note: To accommodate the considerable interest for the seminar, students may be asked to work in groups of two for the presentations part of the seminar requirement.


The grade depends on the given presentations (40%), term paper (40%) and active participation (20%).


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Last modified: April 20, 2011