21st Max Planck Advanced Course on the Foundations of Computer Science

21st Max Planck Advanced Course on the Foundations of Computer Science

August 24-28, 2020

Virtual event (hosted from Saarbrücken, Germany)

Market Design and Computational Fair Division

In the last twenty years there has been a tremendous amount of research done at the intersection of economics and (theoretical) computer science. This year's ADFOCS will focus on two topics at this intersection: market design and computational fair division. Market design is concerned with the design of algorithms to sell or exchange items on an economical market or platform. Nicole Immorlica will cover a wide range of topics in this area including welfare and revenue-maximizing auctions and one and two-sided allocation problems. Fair division is an age-old problem of allocating a set of resources among several agents in a fair and efficient way. It arises naturally in a wide range of real-life settings, from interpersonal to international conflicts. Jugal Garg and Ruta Mehta will cover many recent exciting computational developments in this area. This summer school's scope is international, and its goal is to bring together leading researchers with international participants of graduate level and above.

Videos, lecture notes and exercises are available under Course Material.

Nicole Immorlica

Nicole Immorlica

Microsoft Research Lab, New York City, USA

Market Design

Ruta Mehta

Ruta Mehta

Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Competitive Equilibrium

Jugal Garg

Jugal Garg

Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Fair Division

ADFOCS is organized by Sándor Kisfaludi-Bak, Pieter Kleer, and Cosmina Croitoru as part of the activities of the Algorithms and Complexity Group and the International Max Planck Research School of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics.


Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions via email to

ADFOCS 2020 will be hosted on the Gather platform, that runs in Chrome or Firefox. For the lectures, you will be forwarded to Zoom from within Gather. In order to access Gather, you will need to use the e-mail address with which you confirmed your participation in the Google Form we sent you.

Access (13:00-21:00 CEST, August 24-28):
  • Go to
  • Confirm you are at least 13 years old (unless you aren't). Click on Sign in and enter your e-mail address.
  • Click on the link in the sign-in e-mail from Gather (check your spam folder as well).
  • Gather now starts up in the original tab.
  • Allow Gather to use your mic and camera.
  • Use Chrome or Firefox. Make sure no other applications (such as Skype, Teams, etc.) are using your mic and camera.
  • Make sure Chrome or Firefox does not permanently block permission requests for mic and camera (see browser settings).
  • Check, and otherwise send an e-mail to or

User guide:

Everything is fairly self-explanatory once you are in Gather, but please have a look at this guide to improve your experience.

  • At the start:
    • You are spawned into the Common Area. Click "x" on your keyboard to see the Map (near the map sign).
    • Set the Interaction Distance in the horizontal panel at the bottom smaller (icon with circles), if you want to see less participants in your neighborhood.
    • Use Ghostmode (hold down "g") to move through people if a room entrance is blocked.
  • Lectures:
    • Guide your avatar into the Lecture Hall. Don't stand in the doorway!
    • Press "x" on your keyboard to get the Zoom link.
    • Leave the Zoom meeting after the lecture! Upon re-entering Gather, again give access to your camera and mic feeds if needed.
  • Exercise Session:
    • Guide your avatar into the Classroom. Only enter the Classroom if you will ACTIVELY work on the exercises.
    • Move ONTO a chair to communicate and work with other participants at the same table.
    • Press "x" on your keyboard to see the Course Material.
    • Use the "Raise Hand" icon in the horizontal panel at the bottom to indicate that you have a question. Then the speaker will come to your table.
    • All chairs in the Classroom taken? Sit at any table in the Common Area.

Quick tutorial made by the organizers (watch in full screen):

Firefox was used for this tutorial. In Chrome, permission to access camera and microphone feed can be given on the right of the address bar.

Technical information:

  • Gather is supported on any desktop or laptop (no tablets and phones), and any OS (Windows, Mac OS, Linux). Camera and microphone are required.
  • Only supported in Chrome and Firefox.
  • Make sure your browser is up to date.*
  • Using a VPN is not recommended (which also applies to Zoom).*
  • Make sure "x" is not a shortcut key of a browser plug-in (disable those if needed).

*Based on experiences of the organizers.

On Tuesday, 17:45 CEST, we will host a quiz on Zoom in order to give you a break from the ADFOCS topics.

How to participate:
  • Join on Zoom with the provided link. We break you up into teams (using break-out rooms in Zoom).
  • Quiz has five rounds with different themes, and works as follows.
    • Quiz master releases Google Form with questions, and you and your team members try to solve these (in the break-out room).
    • Team captain fills in the form and submits it at the end of the round. No late hand-ins.
    • Answers will be given in between rounds.
Web searches are not allowed! We're testing your knowledge, not your Googling skills...

Winners will be announced at the end of the MPI-session on Thursday (17:45-18:30 CEST).
Honorable mention for most original team name!

Below the five question forms of the quiz (choose any team name+captain to move on to the questions). And click here for a PDF with the answers.

This year's ADFOCS features three lecturers. Our invited speakers give five lectures with subsequent exercise and discussion sessions. These sessions will take place daily from 14:30 to 18:30 UTC+2 (CEST). There is also a (pub)quiz planned.

On Tuesday the Fair Division lecture starts at 15:50 CEST (followed by a short break and exercise session).

CEST (UTC+2) August 24
August 25
August 26
August 27
August 28
14:15-14:30 Welcome on Gather

14:30-15:20 Market Design

Lecture 1
Market Design

Lecture 2
Market Design

Exercises 1 and 2
Market Design

Lecture 4
Market Design

Research Talk
15:20-15:30 Short Break
15:30-16:15 Market Design

Lecture 1.5
Fair Division

Lecture 2
Market Design

Lecture 3
Market Design

Exercises 3 and 4
Market Design

Research Talk
16:15-16:45 Coffee Break
16:45-17:35 Fair Division

Lecture 1
Fair Division

Exercises 2
Fair Division

Lecture 3
Fair Division

Lecture 4
Fair Division

Lecture 5
17:35-17:45 Short Break
17:45-18:30 Fair Division

Exercises 1
Social Event

Fair Division

Exercises 3
5-min. talks by

MPI members
Fair Division

Exercises 4
It is no longer possible to register for this event.

Market Design

Nicole Immorlica

Computational Fair Division

Ruta Mehta

Jugal Garg

ADFOCS supports the recommendations of the SafeTOC report to combat harassment and discrimination in the Theory of Computing community.

By participating in the ADFOCS program, you agree to not exercise any demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.

If at anytime you feel unsafe, intimidated or harrassed during ADFOCS, please contact the organizers immediately and we will start an (anonymous) investigation.

The organizers reserve the right to remove any participant from the ADFOCS summer school.