395: Algorithmic and Economic Aspects of Social Networks

Contents: Description Details Announcements Syllabus Links


The goal of this course is to help students develop a theoretical understanding of social networks such as the Internet. We will use tools from economics and theoretical computer science to characterize the typical structures of social networks and develop theories about their formation and evolution. We will then attempt to explain phenomena from the world such as technology diffusion or the spread of disease by modeling them as dynamic processes on social networks and analyzing the resulting equilibria. Finally, we will attempt to develop policies that can be imposed on networks to help guide these processes towards optimal global outcomes.


Lectures: Standard time is Thu. 2-5pm in Tech MG28

Professor: Nicole Immorlica
Email: nickle at eecs dot northwestern dot edu
Office Hours: by appointment, room Ford 3.327


  • The Jan. 22nd lecture has been rescheduled for Feb. 3rd from 5-8pm.
  • Update: The Jan. 29th lecture will be as scheduled, and given by Jason Hartline. We are still trying to find a time for the Jan. 22nd lecture.
  • The Jan. 22nd lecture will be on Jan. 20th, and the Jan. 29th lecture will be on Feb. 3rd. Location in Tech MG28 unless announced otherwise...


    Note: Textbook readings from Social and Economic Networks (SEN)..

    Date Topic Reading Assignment
    08/01/09 Graph theory, network structure - ppt, pdf SEN Part I, Strength of Weak Ties, Structure of the Web Reaction paper due 15/01/09
    15/01/09 Random graphs, probabilistic network formation - ppt, pdf SEN Chapters 4 and 5, Mitzenmacher's survey, Watts-Strogatz Reaction paper due 03/02/09
    29/01/09 Guest Lecture: Game theory intro., by Jason Hartline SEN Chapter 9.10, Optimal Marketing Strategies over Social Networks Reaction paper due on 03/02/09
    03/02/09 Strategic network formation - ppt, pdf SEN Chapter 6 (11, optional), Strategic Network Formation with Structural Holes Reaction paper due on 12/2/09
    05/02/09 Diffusion, Navigation - ppt, pdf SEN Chapter 7, Chord Reaction paper, project proposals due on 12/2/09
    12/02/09 Learning and Networks - ppt, pdf SEN Chapter 8, PageRank, Hubs and Authorities
    (To see why pagerank is the "right" answer, read PageRank Axioms)
    Reaction paper due on 19/02/09
    19/02/09 Graphical Games - ppt, pdf SEN Chapter 9, Bramoulle-Kranton, Ballester et al. Reaction paper due on 26/02/09
    26/02/09 Networked Markets - ppt, pdf SEN Chapter 10, Chakraborty-Kearns, Judd-Kearns Reaction paper due on 05/03/09
    05/03/09 Cooperative Game Theory    
    12/03/09 Project presentations