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Distributed Systems and Game Theory (ELEN90078)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Not available in 2019

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Year of offerNot available in 2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeELEN90078
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject provides an introduction to the basic principles, analysis, and design of distributed systems and game theory within an engineering context, encompassing fundamental concepts, analytical tools, and algorithms. It focuses on multi-person decision-making on distributed systems and game-theoretic approaches to resource allocation. Both static, distributed, and convex optimisation and (non)linear dynamical systems are studied. The concepts and methods discussed are illustrated in multiple application areas including Internet of Things (IoT), smart grid and power systems, cyber-security, and communication networks.

The concepts taught in this subject will allow for a better understanding of distributed systems and provide much needed expertise for analysis and design of such systems using game theory.


Topics covered may include:

  • A brief overview of convex optimisation and distributed systems;
  • Distributed optimisation and network utility maximisation;
  • Fundamentals of strategic (non-cooperative) games, Nash equilibrium and its distributed computation;
  • Static, dynamic, stochastic, and Bayesian games;
  • Coalition formation games;
  • Security games;
  • Basics of mechanism design, VCG mechanisms;
  • The role of information in distributed systems and strategic games;
  • Analysis of distributed systems using graph abstractions and games over graphs;
  • Applications of distributed algorithms and strategic games to Internet of Things (IoT), smart grid and power systems, cyber-security, and communication networks.

Intended learning outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs):

On completion of this subject, it is expected that the student will:

1. Utilise mathematical tools and methods quantitatively to analyse and design distributed systems and algorithms
2. Apply fundamental engineering modelling methods to analyse and synthesise strategic games
3. Describe basic concepts related to game theory, distributed systems, and their relationships and reflect critically on their theory and professional practice
4. Apply fundamental techniques from distributed systems and game theory to address problems associated with engineering systems and use numerical analysis tools when appropriate
5. Interpret and communicate on aspects of distributed systems and game theory to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, it is expected that the student will have developed the following generic skills:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals;
  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline;
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution;
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance;
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning;
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.

Eligibility and requirements


Enrolment in a research higher degree (MPhil or PhD) in Engineering or approval from the subject coordinator.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Convex optimisation.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Assessment of submitted project work completed individually, not exceeding 15 pages over the semester [ILOs: 1, 2 and 4], 10 hours work per student, due Week 6 (10%);
  • Assessment of submitted project work completed in small groups (2-3 students), not exceeding 15 pages over the semester [ILOs: 3, 4 and 5], 25 hours work per student, due Week 11 (20%);
  • Oral presentation of project work, team-based with 2-3 members, of approximately 15-20 mins duration [ILOs: 4 and 5], 10 hours work per student, due Week 11 (10%);
  • Written examination not exceeding 3 hours [ILOs: 1, 2, 3 and 4], held after Week 12 in the examination period (60%).

Hurdle requirement: Students must pass the written exam to pass the subject.

Dates & times

Not available in 2019

Time commitment details

200 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 22 August 2019