This course blends an introduction to network economics with selected topics in computer networking. It teaches technical and formal economics skills in a unique combination tailored to students of Information Systems. Emphasis is put on simple models lending themselves to rigorous solutions. Participants immerse in the notion that network graphs form the social and economic fabric of an information society, and grasp the emergent properties of design choices in the Internet technology. They learn by many practical examples to appreciate the power of networks as well as ways to control it. Successful graduates are equipped with essential skills that qualify them for assuming responsibility in strategy teams of network industries (including startups), policy-making bodies, or research institutions.

Learning outcomes

a) Students learn to “think in networks”. They get a deep understanding of the role of network topology as a distinctive factor that defines the properties of complex social and technical systems. They get used to the ideas of emergence, feedback loops and equilibria. b) They dispose of models to describe as well as analytical tools to analyze and explain phenomena arising in networks. c) They can apply their knowledge in unprecedented ways to study new real-world problems with the lens of network economics. This enables them to d) contribute to theoretical and empirical research as well as to e) create and shape practical socio-technical systems based on well-founded principles. f) Awareness of the limitations of formal models, taught by examples of failure, prevents blind reliance and encourages responsible action.