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Department of Informatics Computation and Economics Research Group

Lecture: Economics and Computation (Fall 2018)

Lecturer: Steffen Schuldenzucker
Teaching Assistants: Vitor BosshardLudwig Dierks, Stefania Ionescu, Nils Olberg, Jakob Weissteiner
Teaching Language English
Level BSc, MSc
Academic Semester Fall 2018
Time and Location

Lecture: Wednesday 12:15-13:45

Building: BIN, Room: BIN-2.A.10

Exercise Session: Thursday 12:15-13:45

Building BIN, Room: BIN-1.D.29

AP (ECTS): 6 (including a mark)
Office Hours Steffen Schuldenzucker: email for appointments, BIN-2.B.04


  • 13.08.2018: Lecture website goes live

Course Content

In this course, we will cover the interplay between economic thinking and computational thinking as it relates to electronic commerce in particular, and socio-economic systems in general. Topics covered include: game theory, mechanism design, p2p file-sharing, eBay auctions, advertising auctions, combinatorial auctions, matching markets, computational social choice, and crowdsourcing markets. Emphasis will be given to core methodologies necessary to design such systems with good economic and computational properties. Students will be engaged in theoretical, computational, and empirical exercises.

Teaching Format and Setup

  1. This course will be structured differently from most courses at IfI: For each lecture, there will be lecture notes (approx. 15-20 pages per lecture) that students must read before class to learn the new material at their own pace.
  2. Students must answer 4-5 short comprehension questions before every class to show they have completed the readings.
  3. During class, we will not go over all of the material from the lecture notes. Instead, lectures will be interactive, illustrating the concepts from the lecture notes, and students are expected to participate during class discussions.
  4. Every week, there will be a section (exercise session) to practice the concepts learned in the lecture. Participation in the exercise sessions will be very helpful to deepen the understanding of the material and to prepare for solving the homework exercises. However, attendance during the exercise sessions in not mandatory and will not be graded.
  5. There will be approximately 3-4 theoretical/mathematical homework exercises to deepen the understanding of the theoretical content of the course.
  6. There will be approximately 3-4 programming exercises where students need to apply the concepts learned in class.


Students need to be proficient in math to solve the theoretical homework exercises, and they need to be able to program to solve the practical homework exercises. For BSc students, it is recommended (but not required) that they take the courses "Game Theory", "Foundations of Computing II" and "Introduction to Operations Research: Convex Optimization (Mathematics III)" before taking this course.

Target Audience

Recommended for all BSc and MSc students with an interest in topics at the intersection of economics and computer science.

Teaching/Learning Goals

  1. Understand the importance of economic thinking in computational domains, and of computational thinking in economic domains.
  2. Be able to develop applicable models of complex Internet systems.
  3. Be able to analyze the behavior of systems that include people, computational agents as well as firms, and involve strategic behavior.
  4. Be able to solve both mathematical and conceptual problems involving such systems.
  5. Be able to write programs that implement strategic agents and mechanisms.

Examination + Grading

To pass the module, students need to obtain at least 50% of the points from the homework assignments, they need to obtain at least 50% of the points from the comprehension questions, and they need to pass the final exam. For students who pass the module, the final grade will only be determined based on the final exam (scheduled for December 19th, 2018 from 12:00-14:00).

Lectures (tentative schedule)

Lecture Date Topic/Reading Fun & Interesting
1 Wed, 19.9.2018 Incentives
2 Wed, 26.9.2018 Game Theory (skip sections 2.5 and 2.6) Game Theory,
Primates & Game Theory ,
Badminton & Game Theory (jump to 15:00) (explanation) ,
Repeated Games
3 Wed, 03.10.2018 The Economics of P2P File Sharing Court...
4 Wed, 10.10.2018 Auction Theory and eBay (skip 6.4 and 6.5) eBay
5 Wed, 17.10.2018 Mechanism Design Part 1 (read 7.1 and 7.2, rest optional) Restaurant Pricing
6 Wed, 24.10.2018 Mechanism Design Part 2 (read 7.5 and 7.6, rest optional)  
7 Wed, 31.10.2018 Online Advertising Auctions (skip 10.6) Online Ads
8 Wed, 07.11.2018 Linear Programming (optional: 3.3 + 3.4)  
9 Wed, 14.11.2018 Integer Programming (optional: 12.2, 12.4, 12.7, 12.8)


10 Wed, 21.11.2018 Combinatorial Auctions (optional 11.5 and 11.6)  
11 Wed, 28.11.2018 Matching Markets

(optional 12.4.4 and 12.4.5 and 12.4.6)

Kidney Markets
12 Wed, 05.12.2018 Computational Social Choice Elections
13 Wed, 12.12.2018 Review  

Wed, 19.12.2018

at 12:00-14:00

Final Exam (room TBA)  


Exercise Sessions (tentative schedule)

Section Date Topic
1 Thu, 20.09.2018 Math Refresher
2 Thu, 27.09.2018 Game Theory
3 Thu, 04.10.2018 Game Theory + P2P File Sharing
4 Thu, 11.10.2018 Auction Theory
5 Thu, 18.10.2018 Mechanism Design (Part 1)
6 Thu, 25.10.2018 Mechanism Design (Part 2)
7 Thu, 01.11.2018 Online Advertising Auctions
8 Thu, 08.11.2018 Linear Programming
9 Thu, 15.11.2018 Integer Programming
10 Thu, 22.11.2018 Combinatorial Auctions
11 Thu, 29.11.2018 Matching Markets
12 Thu, 06.12.2018 Computational Social Choice
13 Thu, 13.12.2018 Review/Practice Exam

Homework Assignments (tentative schedule)

Number Out Date Due Date Topic
01 Wed, 26.9.2018 Wed, 10.10.2018, 12:15 Game Theory (Theory)
02 Wed, 10.10.2018 Wed, 17.10.2018, 12:15 Auction Theory (Theory)
03 Wed, 17.10.2018 Wed, 31.10.2018, 12:15 Mechanism Design (Theory)
04 Wed, 31.10.2018 Wed, 7.11.2018, 12:15 Advertising Auctions (Programming)
05(a) Wed, 7.11.2018 Wed, 14.11.2018, 12:15 Linear Programming (Programming) [40%]
05(b) Wed, 14.11.2018 Wed, 21.11.2018, 12:15 Integer Programming (Programming) [60%]
06 Wed, 21.11.2018 Wed, 28.11.2018, 12:15 Combinatorial Auctions (Theory/Programming)
07(a) Wed, 28.11.2018 Wed, 5.12.2018, 12:15 Matching (Theory/Programming) [50%]
07(b) Wed, 5.12.2018

Wed, 12.12.2018, 12:15

Social Choice (Theory/Programming) [50%]

Weiterführende Informationen


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