CS 2850 - Networks

General Information

A course taught by some subset of {Eva Tardos, Jon Kleinberg, David Easley}. Best description is probably the one from the website:

A course on how the social, technological, and natural worlds are connected, and how the study of networks sheds light on these connections. Topics include: how opinions, fads, and political movements spread through society; the robustness and fragility of food webs and financial markets; and the technology, economics, and politics of Web information and on-line communities.

Counts as an SBA Liberal Studies course.


“Almost no knowledge of specific mathematical content is assumed, other than some basic probability (random variables, expectation, independence, and conditional probability), which we will briefly review when it first arises.”

If you’re even thinking about being a CS major, you’ll probably be fine.

Topics Covered

  • Graph Theory and Social Networks
  • Game Theory
  • Markets and Strategic Interaction on Networks
  • Information Networks and the World-Wide Web
  • Network Dynamics: Population Models
  • Network Dynamics: Structural Models
  • Institutions and Aggregate Behavior


A couple hours for every problem set (there are about five or six). Going to lecture not required and you can get an A from reading the book. (Fall 2014: We had a series of iClicker questions in class that I remember counted for some portion of our grade. However the other grades like homework, blog posts, and exams could definitely make up for it.)

There’s also an in-class prelim, a final, two blog posts on topics related to the class, and a ten page paper (insider information: it seemed that pretty much anything coherent got at least a 9/10).

General Advice

Networks is an easy A+.

This counts as a liberal study, while still being a technically-focused CS course. So it can be an interesting way to get a good grade and knock out a liberal studies requirement. Win win win.


Past Offerings

Semester Time Professor Median Grade Course Page
Fall 2016 David Easley, Eva Tardos A- https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/cs2850_2016fa/
Fall 2010 David Easley, Jon Kleinberg A https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/info2040_2010fa/


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