Course Information

18-859SI: Special Topics in Communications: Network Economics and Resource Allocation




As people use the Internet in increasingly diverse and data-intensive ways, today’s data networks are struggling to meet user demands, leading to the development of new network technologies and business models for monetizing Internet access. Service providers thus face significant challenges in allocating scarce, competing, and heterogeneous resources to many different users and applications. Their solutions will help determine how data networks operate and how users will access the Internet in the future.

This course will be structured around recent (and a few not-so-recent) research papers related to resource allocation in data networks. It is loosely organized into three topics: access pricing, combining resources from heterogeneous network technologies, and the role of content providers. We will examine different models of consumer Internet usage and consider different objectives in allocating resources, such as user satisfaction, service provider profit, and fairness. We will consider how to express these objectives in an analytical framework, how they might be implemented, and their potential socioeconomic consequences. Time permitting, we will briefly explore three related topics: incentivizing resource sharing, electronic commerce, and cloud resource allocation.

Students will make regular presentations critiquing weekly readings and complete a final project on a topic of their choice. A sound mathematical background is expected. Prior knowledge of economics or networking is useful but not required.

Last Modified: 2017-09-28 2:50PM

Semesters offered:

  • Fall 2017