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10
On the Computational Power of Demand Queries
"... We study the computational power of iterative combinatorial auctions. Most existing iterative combinatorial auctions are based on repeatedly suggesting prices for bundles of items, and querying the bidders for their “demand” under these prices. We prove several results regarding such auctions that u ..."
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We study the computational power of iterative combinatorial auctions. Most existing iterative combinatorial auctions are based on repeatedly suggesting prices for bundles of items, and querying the bidders for their “demand” under these prices. We prove several results regarding such auctions that use a polynomial number of demand queries: (1) that such auctions can simulate several other natural types of queries; (2) that they can approximate the optimal allocation as well as generally possible using polynomial communication or computation, while weaker types of queries cannot do so; (3) that such auctions that only use item prices may solve allocation problems in communication cost that is exponentially lower than the cost incurred by auctions that use prices for bundles. For the latter result, we initiate the study of how prices of bundles can be represented when they are not linear, and show that the “default” representation has severe limitations. Our results hold for any series of demand queries with polynomial length, without any additional restrictions on the queries (e.g., to ascending prices).
An algorithmic game theory primer
, 2008
"... We give a brief and biased survey of the past, present, and future of research on the interface of theoretical computer science and game theory. ..."
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Cited by 6 (0 self)
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We give a brief and biased survey of the past, present, and future of research on the interface of theoretical computer science and game theory.
On the Communication Requirements of Verifying the VCG Outcome
 EC'08
, 2008
"... We consider the amount of communication required to verify the outcome of the VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism: an efficient allocation together with incentivizing VCG payments. We compare this to the communication required to verify the efficient decision rule alone, to assess the overhead imp ..."
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Cited by 3 (1 self)
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We consider the amount of communication required to verify the outcome of the VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism: an efficient allocation together with incentivizing VCG payments. We compare this to the communication required to verify the efficient decision rule alone, to assess the overhead imposed by VCG payments. Our characterizations are obtained by leveraging a connection between the VCG outcome and a price equilibrium concept known as universal competitive equilibrium. We consider four related environments within a common framework: the classic singleitem setting, the multiunit setting with decreasing marginal values, the classic assignment problem with unitdemand valuations, and the multiunit assignment problem with substitutes valuations. We find that the singleunit settings have zero overhead, whereas the multiunit settings can have significant positive overhead. With multiple units, the naïve VCG protocol that runs several efficient protocols in sequence (one with all agents, and ones with an agent removed, for each agent) is asymptotically optimal for several parameter settings of the number of agents, commodities, and units.
A Modular Framework for MultiAgent Preference Elicitation
, 2007
"... ... for certain applications. Experimental results demonstrate that the elicitation framework can complement current designs by allowing for alternate representations where XOR is inappropriate, resulting in fewer queries and faster convergence. The framework consists of elicitation, allocation, and ..."
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Cited by 2 (1 self)
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... for certain applications. Experimental results demonstrate that the elicitation framework can complement current designs by allowing for alternate representations where XOR is inappropriate, resulting in fewer queries and faster convergence. The framework consists of elicitation, allocation, and pricing engines. The pricing engine is also modular. I present two different methods for pricing, one of which can also serve as a standalone iterative auction. The auction begins with item prices and introduces bundle prices as needed to drive the bidding forward. This again complements existing designs which are limited to XOR or item pricing. The framework can also be extended to compute VCG payments, to bring truthful responses to queries into an equilibrium.
BudgetBalanced Maximization of Social Welfare Resilient to Unrestricted Collusion, Privacy, and Beliefs
, 2011
"... Collusion, privacy, and beliefs are forces uniquely capable of affecting the play of a mechanism. In this paper, we define a class of mechanisms totally resilient to these three forces, and then prove that one such mechanism essentially maximizes social welfare in a budgetbalanced way. Our mechanis ..."
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Collusion, privacy, and beliefs are forces uniquely capable of affecting the play of a mechanism. In this paper, we define a class of mechanisms totally resilient to these three forces, and then prove that one such mechanism essentially maximizes social welfare in a budgetbalanced way. Our mechanism works in markets where the players have complete information about each other’s utilities (but not about who colludes with whom), meaningfully bypasses classical impossibility results, and enjoys other valuable properties. In particular, it requires a minimal amount of communication. 1
Mechanism Design with a Restricted Action Space
"... While traditional mechanism design typically assumes isomorphism between the type space of the players and their action space, behavioral, technical or regulatory factors can severely restrict the set of actions that are actually available to players. We study singleparameter mechanismdesign probl ..."
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While traditional mechanism design typically assumes isomorphism between the type space of the players and their action space, behavioral, technical or regulatory factors can severely restrict the set of actions that are actually available to players. We study singleparameter mechanismdesign problems in environments with restricted action spaces. In our first main result, we provide sufficient conditions under which the informationtheoretically optimal solution can be implemented in equilibrium. Our second main result shows that for a wide family of socialchoice rules the optimal mechanisms with k actions incur an expected loss of O(1/k²) compared to the optimal mechanisms with unrestricted action space. We also fully characterize the optimal mechanisms in some simple environments and, finally, we apply our general results to signaling games, publicgood models and project planning.
The Communication Burden of Payment Determination
"... In the presence of selfinterested parties, mechanism designers typically aim to achieve their goals (implement a socialchoice function) in an equilibrium. In this paper, we study the cost of such equilibrium requirements in terms of communication, a problem that was recently raised by Fadel and Se ..."
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In the presence of selfinterested parties, mechanism designers typically aim to achieve their goals (implement a socialchoice function) in an equilibrium. In this paper, we study the cost of such equilibrium requirements in terms of communication, a problem that was recently raised by Fadel and Segal (2009). While a certain amount of information x needs to be communicated just for computing the outcome of a certain socialchoice function, an additional amount of communication may be required for computing the equilibriumsupporting payments (when such payments exist). Our main result shows that the total amount of information required for this task can be greater than x by a factor linear in the number of players n, i.e., n · x (under a common normalization assumption). This is the first known lower bound for this problem. In fact, we show that this result holds even in singleparameter domains. On the positive side, we show that certain classic economic domains, namely, singleitem auctions and publicgood mechanisms, only entail a small overhead. Finally, we discuss the case in which the normalization assumption does not hold and leave the readers with several open questions.
Bisection Auctions P. JEANJACQUES HERINGS and
"... In this note we give a survey of bisection auctions. Bisection auctions have been introduced in order to reduce the number of rounds and increase privacy of information in iterative implementations of Vickrey auctions. First, we present the case of discrete valuations. we discuss the strategic prope ..."
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In this note we give a survey of bisection auctions. Bisection auctions have been introduced in order to reduce the number of rounds and increase privacy of information in iterative implementations of Vickrey auctions. First, we present the case of discrete valuations. we discuss the strategic properties of this auction and recent results which show that—for 2 bidders—the auction dominates in a particular sense any other auction with respect to the number of bits revealed. For the case of continuous valuations we contrast its properties with the result that no practical query auction can achieve full efficiency in expost equilibrium.