The ShanghaiTech Multi-Agent Systems Research Team (SMART) was started by Prof. Dengji Zhao in 2017. The team’s research is on algorithmic game theory and multi-agent systems, especially mechanism design and its applications on social networks. The team pioneered and promoted a new trend of mechanism design on social networks, namely how to incentivize the existing participants of a game to invite new participants via their social connections. This new perspective has not been studied in the traditional settings. It is very challenging in theory because the participants are competitors and they would not invite each other by default. Attracting new participants via social networks is also highly demanded in practice, which is essentially what online advertising aims for. For this research challenge, Zhao’s team have made several seminal contributions in auctions, coalitional games and matching with over 15 high-quality publications. Prof. Zhao has also contributed a Blue Sky paper at AAMAS 2021 to set up the related research agenda and offered four tutorials at AAAI 2022, AAMAS 2019 and IJCAI 2017/2018. Prof. Zhao was invited to give an Early Career Spotlight talk at IJCAI-ECAI 2022.


Dengji Zhao

Tenure-track Assistant Professor

School of Information Science and Technology

ShanghaiTech University

Shanghai, China



Interests: Algorithmic Game Theory, Mechanism Design, Sharing Economy, and Artificial Intelligence



Tianyi Zhang

3rd Year PhD Student

Yao Zhang

1st Year PhD Student

Xinyuan Lian

3rd Year Master Student

Xiuzhen Zhang

3rd Year Master Student

Xu Ge

2nd Year Master Student

Yuxiang Zhai

2nd Year Master Student

Junjie Zheng

2nd Year Master Student

Shanshan Zheng

2nd Year Master Student

Yaoxin Ge

1st Year Master Student

Haoxin Liu

1st Year Master Student

Xinwei Song

1st Year Master Student

Yuxin Zhao

1st Year Master Student

Selected Undergraduates

Zixin Gu

Year 4

Miao Li

Year 4

Junyu Zhang

Year 4

Ziye Liu

Year 4

Haolin Liu

Year 4

Shuyue Wang

Year 4

Sizhe Gu

Year 3

Shidong Lv


Yao Shen


Yifeng Zhang


Fengming Zhu


Research Assistants

Tianyi Yang

2019 - now

Yifan Cao

2020 - 2021

Chenguang Deng

2020 - 2021

Weikai Xu

2020 - 2021

Lanlan Yang

2020 - 2021

Graduated Students

Rui Wang

2019 Master

Xin He

2020 Master

Junping Xu

2020 Master

Wen Zhang

2021 Master

Yue Zheng

2021 Master

Recent Publications


Bin Li, Dong Hao*, Hui Gao, Dengji Zhao*: Diffusion Auction Design. Journal of ArtificialIntelligence (AIJ) 303: 103631 (2022)

Shaofei Chen*, Dengji Zhao, Alexandros Zenonos, Jing Chen, Lincheng Shen: Truthfully Coordinating Participation Routes in Informative Participatory Sensing. Science China Information Sciences 64(12) (2021)

Rui Wang, Xinyuan Lian, Dengji Zhao*: Feedback Elicitation Mechanism Design. IEEE Access 7: 73656-73665 (2019) (PDF)


Dengji Zhao*: Mechanism Design Powered by Social Interactions: A Call to Arms. IJCAI 2022 (Invited Early Career Spotlight Track)

Dengji Zhao*: Mechanism Design Powered by Social Interactions. AAMAS 2021 (Blue Sky Ideas Track): 63-67 (PDF)

Yao Zhang, Dengji Zhao*: Incentives to Invite Others to Form Larger Coalitions. AAMAS 2022: 422-428 (PDF)

Bin Li, Dong Hao*, Dengji Zhao*, Tao Zhou: Mechanism Design in Social Networks. AAAI 2017: 586-592 (PDF)

Dengji Zhao*, Bin Li, Junping Xu, Dong Hao, Nick Jennings: Selling Multiple Items via Social Networks. AAMAS 2018: 68-76 (PDF)

Bin Li, Dong Hao*, Dengji Zhao*: Incentive-Compatible Diffusion Auctions. IJCAI 2020: 231-237 (PDF)

Yao Zhang, Xiuzhen Zhang, Dengji Zhao*: Sybil-proof Answer Querying Mechanism. IJCAI 2020: 422-428 (PDF)

Xiuzhen Zhang, Yao Zhang, Dengji Zhao*: Incentive Compatible Mechanism for Influential Agent Selection. SGAT 2021: 79-93 (PDF)

Haomin Shi, Yao Zhang, Zilin Si, Letong Wang, Dengji Zhao*: Maximal Information Propagation with Budgets. ECAI 2020: 211-218 (PDF)

Wen Zhang, Yao Zhang, Dengji Zhao*: Collaborative Data Acquisition. AAMAS 2020: 1629-1637 (PDF)

Wen Zhang, Dengji Zhao*, Hanyu Chen: Redistribution Mechanism on Networks. AAMAS 2020: 1620-1628 (PDF)

Wen Zhang, Dengji Zhao*, Yao Zhang: Incentivize Diffusion with Fair Rewards. ECAI 2020: 251-258 (PDF)

Dengji Zhao*, Yiqing Huang, Liat Cohen, Tal Grinshpoun: Coalitional Games with Stochastic Characteristic Functions Defined by Private Types. AAMAS 2020: 2086-2088 (PDF)

Bin Li, Dong Hao*, Dengji Zhao*, Makoto Yokoo: Diffusion and Auction on Graphs. IJCAI 2019: 435-441 (PDF)

Bin Li, Dong Hao*, Dengji Zhao*, Tao Zhou: Customer Sharing in Economic Networks with Costs. IJCAI 2018: 368-374 (PDF)

Tianyi Zhang, Dengji Zhao*, Wen Zhang, Xuming He: Fixed-Price Diffusion Mechanism Design. PRCAI 2021: 49-62

Xinyuan Lian, Dengji Zhao*: A Network-Based Rating Mechanism Against False-Name Attack. AI 2022: 216-227

Junping Xu, Xin He, Dengji Zhao*: Double auction design on networks. DAI 2019: 8:1-8:6 (PDF)

Yao Zhang, He Wang, Jingxian Huang, Dengji Zhao*: Simulations vs. Human Playing in Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma. PRIMA 2018: 493-501