Topics in Social Algorithms, MS&E 332

Spring 2018-19, Stanford University
Instructor: Ashish Goel


Email: ashishg AT stanford DOT edu
Phone: 650 eight-hundred-fourteen 1478,
Office hours: By appointment.


This class presents an overview of a focused set of topics in social algorithms; the topics change every year. The treatment is grounded in real-life applications, but is heavy on mathematical analysis of algorithms. The readings will largely be published papers and surveys. We would expect algorithmic sophistication at the level of CS 261, CME 305, or MSandE212.

The emphasis in 2018-19 is going to be on social choice, market mechanisms for societal decision making, and credit networks. These threads are inspired by practical projects at Stanford's Social Algorithms Lab. While the Internet has changed many socio-economic activities, there is no online platform for substantive discussion on complex political issues, and no way to build consensus on these issues; this motivates the topics on large-scale decision making. Credit networks are motivated by the recent inerest in virtual currencies.

The primary requirement is one HW, a research project, and a presentation. The curriculum will be individualized to each student, and the class will meet at 1:30pm in Huang 359.

Topics covered in 2015-16: