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January 10, 2013:
Practice problems are now available. They are posted under January 9th on the schedule.

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Course Overview

Social computing systems have been gaining in popularity over the past few years. These systems typically have the interesting property that some of the "computations" are done by people. In this course we will look at recent research on the analysis and design of social computing systems, with a particular focus on incentives and learning. We will be interested in questions such as "How do we design systems that motivate people to contribute?" and "How do we aggregate information provided by users?". To this end we will study how ideas from Artificial Intelligence, CS theory, game theory and microeconomics, social choice and optimization are used in the analysis and design of such systems. Topics covered may include crowdsourcing markets, human computation, prediction markets, question-answer forums, computational social choice, reputation systems and problems relating to social networks.


This course draws on a wide set of ideas from AI, CS theory and economics. While there are no formal prerequisites, some of the topics are quite formal mathematically, and students need to be able to construct and follow formal proofs.

Please send me email if you have any questions.


The course will be a seminar-style course where the focus is on reading and discussing recent research papers. Some background lectures will be given and students will have several assignments covering the material in these lectures. With the research papers, students will be responsible for presenting them in class and discussing them. Projects will also be presented in class at the end of the semester.


The grading breakdown is subject to change.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. All members of the UW community are expected to hold to the highest standard of academic integrity in their studies, teaching, and research. The Office of Academic Integrity's website ( contains detailed information on UW policy for students and faculty. This site explains why academic integrity is important and how students can avoid academic misconduct. It also identifies resources available on campus for students and faculty to help achieve academic integrity in and out of the classroom.

Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4,

Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offense, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offenses (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about rules for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 Student Discipline. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline,

Avoiding Academic Offenses: Most students are unaware of the line between acceptable and unacceptable academic behaviour, especially when discussing assignments with classmates and using the work of other students. For information on commonly misunderstood academic offenses and how to avoid them, students should refer to the Faculty of Mathematics Cheating and Student Academic Discipline Policy,

Appeals: A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals,