CS698A: Selected Areas of Mechanism Design

Units: 3-­0­-0­-0 (9)

Pre­requisites: Familiarity with formal mathematical reasoning, probability theory, calculus, basics of computational complexity, and familiarity with computer programming. The course expects familiarity with game theoretic ideas and results – hence a course like CS698W or CS656 will be required.

Instructor: Swaprava Nath

Departments which may be interested: CSE, MTH, EE, IME, ECO

Level of the course: PG

Course time: TF 14.00-15.15

Short Description

This course is based on selected topics in mechanism design. These topics include stable matching, auctions, selfish routing, games on networks, potential games. This is a research-oriented course, hence students are expected to read and present cutting-edge research topics in this area, and also develop writing skills towards a formal technical report.

The tentative plan of coverage is as follows.

Part 1:

  • Mechanism design theory – quick recap
  • Stable matching theory
  • Auctions
  • Voting and fair division – cake cutting
  • Algorithmic aspects of Mechanism Design
  • Network Games
  • Cooperative Games
  • Some topics from students’ interest

Part 2: Selected papers from leading conferences and journals on the topic that deals with research in mechanism design in the paradigm of artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems

Part 1 is the lecture part by the instructor. Part 2 is for the students to survey, read, present papers (with help from the teaching staff) on the state-­of-­the­-art of the topics that includes (but are not limited to) those discussed in Part 1. This part also requires every student to do a course project (aim: to extend the state­-of-­the­-art, deliverables: writing a technical report comparable to a formal publication and an end semester presentation).

One exam (midterm) at the end of part 1. For part 2, the technical report and the quality of the presentations will be counted for the evaluation. Both parts have equal weightage.


No specific textbook. The references and lecture notes of CS698W will be useful for the basics of mechanism design. Selected chapters from books and lecture notes may be useful which will be made available during the course. Some examples include:

  • Martin Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein: A course in game theory
  • Tim Roughgarden – lecture notes on algorithmic game theory and combinatorial auctions
  • Andreu Mas-Colell, Michael Whinston, and Jerry Green: Microeconomic Theory
  • Vijay Krishna – Auction Theory.
  • Debasis Mishra
    Game Theory course notes:http://www.isid.ac.in/~dmishra/gm1doc/notes_2016.pdf
    Mechanism Design course notes:http://www.isid.ac.in/~dmishra/gmdoc/mdnotes.pdf
  • Papers from conferences, e.g., (but not limited to) EC, WINE, AAAI, IJCAI, AAMAS, and journals, e.g., Econometrica, Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Economic Behavior etc.