Networks II: Market Design
Information Science 4220/Computer Science 4852/Economics 3825
Cornell University, Spring 2016
Location: 255 Olin Hall
Networks II: Market Design builds on its prerequisite course, continuing to examine how computing, economic and sociological worlds are connected, and how abstract mathematical models and analysis can inform their design. In this course, we will construct mathematical models for and analyze networked settings, allowing us to both make predictions about behavior in such systems, as well as reason about how to design such systems to exhibit some desirable behavior. Throughout, we will draw on real-world applications such as kidney exchange, college admissions and reputations systems in online marketplaces that illustrate these phenomena.
Answers to FAQs this time of the year:
Note: I am typically unable to respond to individual email due to severe RSI. Once classes start, asking questions in-person, either in or after class or in office hours will be the best way to communicate with me. Until then, this webpage will contain all currently available information about the course.
- Networks II will not be offered for technical writing this year (Spring 2016) onwards; no special exceptions!
- There is no waitlist for the class.
Instructor: Arpita Ghosh, 207 Gates Hall
Note: I am typically unable to respond to email due to severe RSI. Asking questions in-class, after class, or in office hours (starting February 3rd) is the best way to communicate with me.
- Gabe Culbertson <grc74>
- Pablo Garcia Quesada <pg339>
- Brandon Hartz <bdh59>
- Pei-Ting Hsu <ph364>
- Harshil Mattoo <hm372>
- Raphael Nissan <rjn62>
- Minsu Park <mp867>
- Jordan Silver <jas893>
- Tyler Spring <tms242>
- Ava Tan <ajt222>
- Kathy Xu <qkx2>
- Victor Zhao <vz38>
Office hours :
- Instructor office hours: (Starting Feb 3)
- Wednesday 3:00-4:00pm, 207 Gates Hall
- TA office hours: (Starting Feb 8)
- Monday 11:00-12:00pm: Gates G17 (Gabe)
- Monday 3:30-4:30pm: Gates G17 (Jordan)
- Tuesday 1:10-2:40pm: Gates G11 (Brandon)
- Wednesday 1:30-2:30pm: Gates G13 (Pablo)
- Wednesday 4:30-6pm: Gates G13 (Raphael)
- Wednesday 7-8pm: Gates G17 (Jordan)
- Thursday 11am-12noon: Gates G17 (Jordan)
- Thursday 1:30-2:30pm: CIS Tutoring Office Room 105 (Pablo)
- Thursday 4:30-6pm: Gates G13 (Raphael)
- Thursday 6-7:30pm: Gates G11 (Victor)
Communication with course staff
Course Piazza page:
Please use the course Piazza forum, rather than email, for all questions and comments regarding course logistics and course content. Please also help answer other students' questions and participate in discussions, and contribute to an active forum!
Please note that Piazza is meant as a discussion forum only for asking and answering questions regarding course material, and clarifying logistics. Questions or discussions regarding grades on assignments, whether your individual grade or regarding class policy, must be in-person with the instructor or teaching staff. Using Piazza for anything beyond its intended purpose, or indulging in non-polite behavior, will result in certain deletion of your post, possible deletion of your access to Piazza for this class, and possible loss of course credit.
If you have a personal issue that is not related to course logistics or content, you can meet with the instructor or TAs during office hours, or send an email to the course staff list.
Course staff email list: INFO4220-STAFF-L@cornell.edu
Please make sure to use the course staff email list rather than individually emailing the instructor or individual teaching assistants. This list reaches all of us, making it more likely you will get an answer sooner.
- Networks (INFO2040)
- Familiarity with logical reasoning (at the level of CS 2800 or equivalent),
and basic probability and statistics.
- I haven't taken Networks. Can I still take Networks II?
If you have adequate background in game theory (and have the second prerequisite), you should be able to handle Networks II with the following preparatory self-study: Chapters 6, 10, 22 in Networks, Crowds and Markets. That being said, you will definitely benefit more from this class if you take it after taking Networks, so you should do that if at all possible.
- I don't have the second prerequisite. Can I still take this class?
You can legally take this class, of course, but you might not enjoy it: some familiarity with (or at least aptitude for) simple logical reasoning and basic probability, although not associated with any particular class, is essential for Networks II.
- Can I take Networks II for technical writing?
Alas, not anymore! Networks II will not be offered for technical writing this year (Spring 2016) onwards; unfortunately, no special exceptions are feasible.
Outline of Topics
Information and networked behavior
- Why matching markets without money?
- Kidney exchange, college admissions, school choice
- Matching markets with versus without money
- One-sided matching markets without money
- Binary preferences
- Perfect matching; Hall's theorem
- Rank-order preferences
- Pareto efficiency and strategy proofness
- No initial endowments ("House Allocation"): Serial dictatorship
- Initial endowments: Core allocations; Gale's Top Trading Cycles (TTC) Algorithm
- Application: Kidney exchange
- Markets with two-sided preferences
- The marriage model; stable matchings
- The Gale-Shapley algorithm and its properties
- Many-to-one matching
- Incentives and preference reporting
- Application: College admissions (NRMP hospital-intern match)
- Information asymmetry and inefficiency in markets
- Adverse selection: Inefficiency; credible disclosure, signaling
- Moral hazard: A prisoner's dilemma model; repeated games
- Alleviating information asymmetry: Reputations
- Quality uncertainty on the Web
- Online ratings and reputation systems
- Application: An empirical study and redesign of the eBay reputation system
There is no textbook for this class, as there is no single book containing all the topics we will cover in this class. However, readings for each topic will be posted on CMS as they become relevant through the semester.
Note that these readings will not substitute for attending class, though, since the material in the lectures will typically at a different level of detail than the readings: the readings should be used as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, the lectures.
To supplement reading material, the lecture slides will also be made available on CMS from after each lecture. Note, however, that some examples will be worked on the whiteboard in class and these will not make their way into the lecture slides. This means that again, the posted lecture slides are not a substitute for attending class.
Your final grade will be based on homeworks, a midterm exam, graded clicker questions, and a blog post and course project. The weights on each of these components are as given below; the weights on your midterm score and class participation score will be chosen (within the ranges given) for a total weight of 35%, in such a way as to give you the maximum total points.
- Homeworks: 35%
- Roughly 1 homework every 2 weeks (for 5-7 homeworks total); will be posted on CMS.
- Due Friday 10 AM unless otherwise noted, by electronic upload on CMS.
- Late policy: 20% penalty within 24 hours after deadline; no credit thereafter.
- No exceptions, other than university-approved reasons.
- See CMS for further details on homework policy.
- Midterm (in-class, April 21): 25%-35%
- Class participation (graded clicker questions): 0-10%
- Project (Report due May 4): 25%
- Blog post: 5%
You are expected to maintain the utmost level of academic integrity in the course. Any violation of the code of academic integrity will be penalized severely.
You are allowed to collaborate on the homework to the extent of formulating ideas as a group. However:
Collaboration is not allowed on the other parts of the coursework.
- You must write up the solutions to each problem set completely on your own, using no memory aids whatsoever from your discussions, and understand what you are writing.
- You must also list the names of everyone that you discussed the problem set with.
Finally, plagiarism deserves special mention here. Including text from other sources in written
assignments without quoting it and providing a proper citation constitutes plagiarism, and it is a serious form of academic
misconduct. This includes cases in which no full sentence has been copied from the original source, but large amounts of
text have been closely paraphrased without proper attribution. To get a better sense for what is allowed, it is highly
recommended that you consult the guidelines maintained by Cornell on this topic. It is also worth noting that search
engines have made plagiarism much easier to detect. This is a very serious issue; instances of plagiarism will very likely
result in failing the course.