Foundations of Electronic Commerce

 

Instructor: Noam Nisan

 

Scope

 

This course attempts to provide a mathematical foundation for electronic commerce.  This is very problematic since the world hardly understands “electronic commerce”, and certainly lacks agreement regarding what its “foundations” are.  Never the less, it is becoming clear that the core of this area concerns markets and auctions that are implemented computationally and exhibit various types of complexities relative to classical human markets.  The point of view taken combines those of computer science and micro-economics. 

 

Most of the material of the course will come from an upcoming book, algorithmic game theory.  The course will basically contain three parts:

 

  1. Strategic behavior in markets: Auction theory and Mechanism Design.  Mostly based on this survey.
  2.  Multiple goods: Combinatorial Auctions and General Equilibrium.  Mostly based on this survey.
  3. Other issues: online markets, digital goods, ad auctions, agency, ...

 

Requirements

 

There is no test.  Students are required to:

 

  1. Attend (almost all) classes and read any required material.
  2. Answer home Exercises.
  3. Write scribe notes for one lecture.
  4. Grade the answers of all the class for one (or two – we'll see) questions.

 

Lecture Notes

 

Each student (or pair of students – we'll see) is expected to prepare scribe notes for one lecture.  Here is a basic LaTeX template to use.    Here are various LaTeX tutorials.   Send me email to reserve dates (which are allocated on a first come first serve basis).  

 

Here is the table of scribe notes.

 

 

 

 

Lecture

Date

Topic

Scribes

1

1.3

Introduction -- a simple market: supply, demand, valuations, equilibrium, prices, social welfare, and some challenges.

Yair Movshovitz,  Dror Lax

2

8.3

Roie Kliper, Dudi Aloni

 

3

15.3

Auctions, Incentive Compatibility, Mechanism Design, VCG payments

Chen Brand, Amichai Shrieber

4

22.3

Avishay Maya, Itay Bleier

 

19.4

(Lecture given during strike: Arrow and Gibbard-Satherswaite theorems)

 

5

17.5

(Lecture Given during strike: preview of next class.)

Eyal Heiman, Ze'ev Polak

24.5

General Mechanisms: games, Nash-equilibrium, incomplete information, dominant strategy implementation, ex-post-Nash, revelation principle

6

31.6

Ezra Reznik

7

7.6

Bayesean-Nash equilibrium, first price auctions, revenue equivalence

Sophiko Gingichashvili,
Ilana Tumansky

8

8.6

Combinatorial auctions I: single minded bidders

Eyal Ben-Zvi, Gilad Freedman

9

13.6

Arrow's lecture in workshop

Dan Yadlin, Barak Perlman

10

14.6

Combinatorial auctions II: Walrasian equilibrium, the LP relaxation, bidding languages

Hadas Ben-Eliezer

11

21.6

Iterative Combinatorial Auctions

Chen Brand, Amichai Shrieber

12

28.6

Guest Lecturer: Michal Feldman

Sophiko Gingichashvili, Ilana Tumansky

 

Makeup Classes:

 

The course will hold three makeup lectures as follows:

  1. Friday June 8, at 11AM--12:30AM.  Location: lower Papic room.

 

  1. Wednesday, June 13, 9AM-10:30AM, Arrow's lecture in the workshop on
    "economic aspects of communication and information"
    .  Location: Feldman Building, room 130.

 

  1. Thursday, June 28th, 12:00AM-1:30PM.  Location: Usual room.

 

 

 

 

Exercises

 

  1. Exercises 1—12.  (Questions 9-10 are due June 14th, in class; questions 11-12 are due June 21st, in class.)

 

 

Links

 

There are a bunch of related courses with web sites at other universities, e.g.: Sandholm@cmu, Parkes@harvard, Larson@waterloo, Mathieu@brown, Roughgraden@stanford.

 

At HUJI we also have the web site of this course from two years ago, the web site of a related course I gave last year, the web site of a related seminar I gave last year, and the web site of an ongoing related research seminar.