CS 486 Syllabus:

Professor: Chris Brooks
Office: Harney 541
Phone: 422-5221
email: brooks@cs.usfca.edu
Office Hours: MW 2:30-4:00 or by appt.

Time: MW 6:15-8:00 pm

Place: HR 235

Course Objectives: Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

The course will consists of a combination of lectures, readings, and projects. I will expect you to attend all classes (let me know in advance if you're going to be gone!) and do the required reading ahead of time. As this is a small class, we'll have plenty of opportunity to discuss the topics at hand, so you should come prepared to talk.


CS 245 (Data Structures) or equivalent. You should be comfortable programming in a high-level language, such as Java.


The course will consist of three medium-sized projects, plus a midterm and a final. There will also be occasional quizzes, designed mostly to make sure that people are doing the reading. (Note: quiz frequency will depend upon discussion - I'd much rather talk than give a quiz!)

Projects: 10% each.
Midterm: 30%.
Final 30%.
Quizzes/Participation: 10%.

Text: e-Commerce: Business, Technology and Society. by Laudon and Traver. I will also provide other papers for reading, typically online.

Collaboration: In general, I expect students to behave responsibly and do their own work. I'm willing to assume this is the case until proven wrong. More specifically, it is OK to talk with each other about the general parameters or approach of the assignment. It is NOT OK to share source code, to do part of an assignment for another person, or to directly copy another person't work. If you are unsure as to whether something is considered fair game or not, please ask me and we can discuss it.


A rough schedule of topics and the time we'll spend on them:

Intro: What is e-Commerce? Why do computer scientists care about it? What is an agent? 1 week.

Encryption and Security: Codes and Ciphers. Public and Private Key encryption. RSA. Certificate Authorities. Public Key Infrastructure. 2.5 weeks.

Trust and Reputation. Ensuring 'good' behavior in an online setting. 1 week.

Information goods. Difficulties in economics of information. Pricing and versioning information goods. Dynamic Pricing. Advertising, click-through, learning user preferences. 2 weeks.

Discovery: Finding what (or who) you want. Recommender systems, XML and description languages, market making, supply chains, shopping agents, B2B systems, Semantic Web, data mining. 2-3 weeks.

Negotiation: Determining the parameters of the deal. Game theory, auctions, automated contracting. 2 weeks.

Exchange and Payment: Credit cards, digital cash, smart cards, escrow ervices, digital watermarking. 2 weeks.

Models and Strategies. Successful and unsuccessful e-commerce strategies. Future directions. What does and doesn't work on the Web. 1 week.