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35
Intrinsic Robustness of the Price of Anarchy
 STOC'09
, 2009
"... The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium ..."
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Cited by 101 (12 self)
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The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium. This drawback motivates the search for inefficiency bounds that apply more generally to weaker notions of equilibria, such as mixed Nash and correlated equilibria; or to sequences of outcomes generated by natural experimentation strategies, such as successive best responses or simultaneous regretminimization. We prove a general and fundamental connection between the price of anarchy and its seemingly stronger relatives in classes of games with a sum objective. First, we identify a “canonical sufficient condition ” for an upper bound of the POA for pure Nash equilibria, which we call a smoothness argument. Second, we show that every bound derived via a smoothness argument extends automatically, with no quantitative degradation in the bound, to mixed Nash equilibria, correlated equilibria, and the average objective function value of regretminimizing players (or “price of total anarchy”). Smoothness arguments also have automatic implications for the inefficiency of approximate and BayesianNash equilibria and, under mild additional assumptions, for bicriteria bounds and for polynomiallength bestresponse sequences. We also identify classes of games — most notably, congestion games with cost functions restricted to an arbitrary fixed set — that are tight, in the sense that smoothness arguments are guaranteed to produce an optimal worstcase upper bound on the POA, even for the smallest set of interest (pure Nash equilibria). Byproducts of our proof of this result include the first tight bounds on the POA in congestion games with nonpolynomial cost functions, and the first
Welfare Guarantees for Combinatorial Auctions with Item Bidding
, 2010
"... We analyze the price of anarchy (POA) in a simple and practical nontruthful combinatorial auction when players have subadditive valuations for goods. We study the mechanism that sells every good in parallel with separate secondprice auctions. We first prove that under a standard “no overbidding ” ..."
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Cited by 39 (5 self)
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We analyze the price of anarchy (POA) in a simple and practical nontruthful combinatorial auction when players have subadditive valuations for goods. We study the mechanism that sells every good in parallel with separate secondprice auctions. We first prove that under a standard “no overbidding ” assumption, for every subadditive valuation profile, every pure Nash equilibrium has welfare at least 50 % of optimal — i.e., the POA is at most 2. For the incomplete information setting, we prove that the POA with respect to BayesNash equilibria is strictly larger than 2 — an unusual separation from the fullinformation model — and is at most 2 ln m, where m is the number of goods.
The Price of Anarchy in Games of Incomplete Information
 EC'12
, 2012
"... We define smooth games of incomplete information. We prove an “extension theorem” for such games: price of anarchy bounds for pure Nash equilibria for all induced fullinformation games extend automatically, without quantitative degradation, to all mixedstrategy BayesNash equilibria with respect t ..."
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Cited by 25 (2 self)
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We define smooth games of incomplete information. We prove an “extension theorem” for such games: price of anarchy bounds for pure Nash equilibria for all induced fullinformation games extend automatically, without quantitative degradation, to all mixedstrategy BayesNash equilibria with respect to a product prior distribution over players’ preferences. We also note that, for BayesNash equilibria in games with correlated player preferences, there is no general extension theorem for smooth games. We give several applications of our definition and extension theorem. First, we show that many games of incomplete information for which the price of anarchy has been studied are smooth in our sense. Thus our extension theorem unifies much of the known work on the price of anarchy in games of incomplete information. Second, we use our extension theorem to prove new bounds on the price of anarchy of BayesNash equilibria in congestion games with incomplete information.
GSP auctions with correlated types
 In Proceedings of the 12th Annual ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC
, 2011
"... The Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary method by which sponsered search advertisements are sold. We study the performance of this auction in the Bayesian setting for players with correlated types. Correlation arises very naturally in the context of sponsored search auctions, espec ..."
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Cited by 22 (5 self)
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The Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary method by which sponsered search advertisements are sold. We study the performance of this auction in the Bayesian setting for players with correlated types. Correlation arises very naturally in the context of sponsored search auctions, especiallyasaresultofuncertaintyinherentinthebehaviour of the underlying ad allocation algorithm. We demonstrate that the Bayesian Price of Anarchy of the GSP auction is bounded by 4, even when agents have arbitrarily correlated types. Our proof highlights a connection between the GSP mechanism and the concept of smoothness in games, which may be of independent interest. For the special case of uncorrelated (i.e. independent) agent types, we improve our bound to 2(1−1/e) −1 ≈ 3.16, significantly improving upon previously known bounds. Using our techniques, we obtain the same bound on the performanceofGSPatcoarsecorrelatedequilibria, whichcaptures (for example) a repeatedauction setting in which agents apply regretminimizing bidding strategies. Moreoever, our analysis is robust against the presence of irrational bidders and settings of asymmetric information, and our bounds degrade gracefully when agents apply strategies that form only an approximate equilibrium.
Simultaneous Auctions are (almost) Efficient
, 2012
"... Simultaneous item auctions are simple procedures for allocating items to bidders with potentially complex preferences over different item sets. In a simultaneous auction, every bidder submits bids on all items simultaneously. The allocation and prices are then resolved for each item separately, base ..."
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Cited by 21 (5 self)
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Simultaneous item auctions are simple procedures for allocating items to bidders with potentially complex preferences over different item sets. In a simultaneous auction, every bidder submits bids on all items simultaneously. The allocation and prices are then resolved for each item separately, based solely on the bids submitted on that item. Such procedures occur in practice (e.g. eBay) but are not truthful. We study the efficiency of Bayesian Nash equilibrium (BNE) outcomes of simultaneous first and secondprice auctions when bidders have complementfree (a.k.a. subadditive) valuations. We show that the expected social welfare of any BNE is at least 1 2 of the optimal social welfare in the case of firstprice auctions, and at least 1 4 in the case of secondprice auctions. These results improve upon the previouslyknown logarithmic bounds, which wereestablished by Hassidim et al. (2011) for firstpriceauctions and by Bhawalkar and Roughgarden (2011) for secondprice auctions. 1
On revenue in the generalized second price auction.
 In WWW.
, 2012
"... ABSTRACT Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary auction used for selling sponsored search advertisements. In this paper we consider the revenue of this auction. Most previous work of GSP focuses on envy free equilibria of the full information version of this game. Envyfree equilibri ..."
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Cited by 15 (0 self)
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ABSTRACT Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary auction used for selling sponsored search advertisements. In this paper we consider the revenue of this auction. Most previous work of GSP focuses on envy free equilibria of the full information version of this game. Envyfree equilibria are known to obtain at least the revenue of the VCG auction. Here we consider revenue in equilibria that are not envyfree, and also consider revenue in the Bayesian version of the game. We show that, at equilibrium, the GSP auction obtains at least half of the revenue of the VCG mechanism excluding the payment of a single participant. This bound is tight, and we give examples demonstrating that GSP cannot approximate the full revenue of the VCG mechanism either in the full information game, or in the Bayesian version (even if agent values are independently drawn from identical uniform distributions). We also show that the GSP revenue approximates the VCG revenue in the Bayesian game when the clickthrough rates are well separated. We also consider revenuemaximizing equilibrium of GSP in the full information model. We show that if clickthrough rates satisfy a natural convexity assumption, then the revenuemaximizing equilibrium will necessarily be envyfree. In particular, it is possible to maximize revenue and social welfare simultaneously. On the other hand, without this convexity assumption, we demonstrate that revenue may be maximized at a nonenvyfree equilibrium that generates a socially inefficient allocation.
Sponsored Search Auctions: An Overview of Research with emphasis on Game Theoretic Aspects
, 2010
"... We provide an overview of recent research that has been conducted on the design of sponsored search auctions. We mainly focus on game theoretic and mechanism design aspects of these auctions, and we analyze the issues associated with each of the three participating entities, i.e. the search engine, ..."
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Cited by 7 (3 self)
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We provide an overview of recent research that has been conducted on the design of sponsored search auctions. We mainly focus on game theoretic and mechanism design aspects of these auctions, and we analyze the issues associated with each of the three participating entities, i.e. the search engine, the advertisers, and the users of the search engine, as well as their resulting behavior. Regarding the search engine, we overview the various mechanisms that have been proposed including the currently used GSP mechanism. The issues that are addressed include analysis of Nash equilibria and their performance, design of alternative mechanisms and aspects of competition among search engines. We then move on to the advertisers and discuss the problem of choosing a bidding strategy, given the mechanism of the search engine. Following this, we consider the end users and we examine how user behavior may create externalities and influence the performance of the advertisers. Finally, we also overview statistical methods for estimating modeling parameters that are of interest to the three entities. In each section, we point out interesting open problems and directions for future research.
Risk Sensitivity of Price of Anarchy under Uncertainty
, 2013
"... In algorithmic game theory, the price of anarchy framework studies efficiency loss in decentralized environments. In optimization and decision theory, the price of robustness framework explores the tradeoffs between optimality and robustness in the case of single agent decision making under uncertai ..."
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Cited by 6 (1 self)
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In algorithmic game theory, the price of anarchy framework studies efficiency loss in decentralized environments. In optimization and decision theory, the price of robustness framework explores the tradeoffs between optimality and robustness in the case of single agent decision making under uncertainty. We establish a connection between the two that provides a novel analytic framework for proving tight performance guarantees for distributed systems in uncertain environments. We present applications of this framework to novel variants of atomic congestion games with uncertain costs, for which we provide tight performance bounds under a wide range of risk attitudes. Our results establish that the individual’s attitude towards uncertainty has a critical effect on system performance and should therefore be a subject of close and systematic investigation.