COS 445: Economics and Computation

Spring 2024

In this course we will study a variety of topics on the cusp between economics and computation. Topics to be covered include: game theory, auctions, mechanism design and cryptocurrencies.

The aim of the course is two-fold: (1) to understand the game-theoretic issues behind systems involving computation such as online networks, and (2) to learn how algorithms and algorithmic thinking can help with designing better decision and allocation mechanisms in the offline world.


Instructors: Matt Weinberg (smweinberg@), Marcel Dall'Agnol (dallagnol@)

Graduate TAs: Eric Xue (ex3782@), Jingyi Liu (jingyi.liu@), Qianfan Zhang (qianfan@), Stephen Newman (stephen.newman@), Pachara (Akin) Sawettamalya (pachara@), Chenghan Zhou (chenghanzh@), Cindy Zhang (cindyz@)

Undergraduate Course Staff: Amir Touil, Ananya Parashar, Anika Agarwal, Arsh Banerjee, Arjun Jagjivan, Amanda Wang, Andrew Tao, Dimitar Chakarov, Chenhan Zhang, Clara Toujas-Bernate, Crystal Pan, Diya Dalia, Dwaipayan (Dwip) Saha, Donna Wang, Erin Lee, Emmy Song, Foyez Alauddin, Garner Thompson, Hervé Ishimwe, Ijay Narang, Louis Viglietta, Mahmudul Rapi, Mary Tsahas, Noam Borgnia, Nicole Klausner, Richard Li, Saumya Malik, Sung Cho, Victoria Graf, Vicky Feng, Yash Parikh, Yenet Tafesse

  • What to expect from this course: FAQ
  • Prerequisite skills/math: cheatsheet on background skills/math required for this course
  • Discussion and announcements: Ed
  • Assignment submissions: codePost
  • Course policies


Lecture Tuesday/Thursday 1:30pm-2:50pm Friend 101 Matt/Marcel
Precept P01 Wednesday 1:30pm-2:20pm Friend 008 Eric
Precept P02 Wednesday 1:30pm-2:20pm Friend 009 Cindy
Precept P03 Wednesday 3:30pm-4:20pm Friend 008 Jingyi
Precept P04 Wednesday 3:30pm-4:20pm McCosh 64 Qianfan
Precept P05 Wednesday 7:30pm-8:20pm Friend 008 Stephen
Precept P06 Friday 1:30pm-2:20pm Friend 009 Marcel
Precept P07 Friday 1:30pm-2:20pm Friend 109 Chenghan

Office Hours

Monday 11am-12pm CS 302* Cindy & Chenghan
Monday 3-4pm CS 401 & 402* Stephen & Jingyi
Monday 4-5pm CS 401 & 402* Akin & Jingyi
Tuesday 9-10am CS 302* Dwip (No PSet)
Tuesday 10-11am CS 302* Chenghan
Tuesday 3-4pm CS 201* Matt
Wednesday 10-11am Corwin 034 Marcel
Wednesday 2:30-3:30pm CS 201 Cindy
Wednesday 4:30-5:30pm CS 302 Qianfan (No PSet)
Wednesday 6:30-7:30pm CS 201 Stephen & Victoria
Thursday 10-11am CS 302 Eric
Thursday 3-4pm CS 201 Marcel
Friday 2:30-3:30pm CS 402 Andrew (No PSet)
Friday 3:30-4:30pm CS 402 Qianfan
Friday 4:30-5:30pm CS 402 Eric
Sunday 4pm-6pm CS 302* Akin

Homework and Exams

Your homework must be submitted as a PDF file. You can use LaTeX or another math-document-editor to produce your homework PDF. If you have never used LaTeX, here is a short guide. You might also want to use Overleaf, which is an online LaTeX editor and compiler. Feel free to visit office hours for help installing/setting up LaTeX.

Here is a LaTeX template you may use for the homework, and a template for the collaboration statement here (thanks to Jude Muriithi'24 for this template!)

Due Date Assignment
02/05 Warmup PSet
02/12 PSet 1
02/19 SD 1 | Leaderboard
02/26 PSet 2
03/01 SD 2 | Leaderboard
03/11* Midterm
03/25 PSet 3
04/01 SD 3 | Leaderboard
04/08 PSet 4
04/15 SD 4 | Leaderboard
04/22 PSet 5
04/29 SD 5 | Files | Leaderboard
05/15 Final


Some shorthand for the reading material:

  • Rx = Tim Roughgarden's lecture notes x
  • KPx = Karlin and Peres chapter x
  • EKx = Easley and Kleinberg chapter x
  • NRTVx = Nisan, Roughgarden, Tardos and Vazirani chapter x (Click link --> resources --> Algorithmic Game Theory --> Algorithmic Game Theory)
  • BCELPx = Brandt, Conitzer, Endriss, Lang, Procaccia chapter x (Click link --> resources --> resources --> online version. To find the password, visit Vince Conitzer's webpage)
Date Topic Supplemental Reading Material
01/30 Braess' Paradox, Stable Matching I R1, R2, KP10.1, KP10.2, NRTV10.4, Wikipedia
02/01 Stable Matching II R1, R2, KP10.3, NRTV10.4
02/06 Matching III KP10.4, NRTV10.3
02/08 Matching IV This paper
02/13 Voting Theory I KP13, BCELP2
02/15 Voting Theory II R4, BCELP2, EK23.6, NRTV10.2
02/20 Game Theory I KP4, R5, EK6
02/22 Game Theory II KP4, KP6, R5
02/27 Linear Programming Sections 1 & 4 here
02/29 Game Theory III KP2
03/05 Information Cascades EK16
03/07 No Lecture
03/12 Spring Break
03/14 Spring Break
03/19 Auction Theory I R13, EK9.1-9.5
03/21 Auction Theory II R14, R15, KP 15.1-15.3
03/26 Auction Theory III R14, R16, EK9.7
03/28 Auction Theory IV KP14.4, KP14.6
04/02 Cryptocurrencies I Chapter 1
04/04 Cryptocurrencies II "Selfish Mining" attack, notes on Ed
04/09 Scoring Rules R17
04/11 Cake Cutting BCELP13, KP11
04/16 Price of Anarchy I R7, NRTV18.1-18.3, KP8.1, KP8.4
04/18 Price of Anarchy II R7, NRTV18.1-18.3, KP8.1, KP8.4
04/23 Behavioral Game Theory I Notes on Ed, R19
04/25 Behavioral Game Theory II R19