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118
Winner determination in combinatorial auction generalizations
, 2002
"... Combinatorial markets where bids can be submitted on bundles of items can be economically desirable coordination mechanisms in multiagent systems where the items exhibit complementarity and substitutability. There has been a surge of recent research on winner determination in combinatorial auctions. ..."
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Cited by 157 (23 self)
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Combinatorial markets where bids can be submitted on bundles of items can be economically desirable coordination mechanisms in multiagent systems where the items exhibit complementarity and substitutability. There has been a surge of recent research on winner determination in combinatorial auctions. In this paper we study a wider range of combinatorial market designs: auctions, reverse auctions, and exchanges, with one or multiple units of each item, with and without free disposal. We first theoretically characterize the complexity. The most interesting results are that reverse auctions with free disposal can be approximated, and in all of the cases without free disposal, even finding a feasible solution is ÆÈcomplete. We then ran experiments on known benchmarks as well as ones which we introduced, to study the complexity of the market variants in practice. Cases with free disposal tended to be easier than ones without. On many distributions, reverse auctions with free disposal were easier than auctions with free disposal— as the approximability would suggest—but interestingly, on one of the most realistic distributions they were harder. Singleunit exchanges were easy, but multiunit exchanges were extremely hard. 1
Towards a universal test suite for combinatorial auction algorithms
 In ACM Electronic Commerce
, 2000
"... General combinatorial auctions—auctions in which bidders place unrestricted bids for bundles of goods—are the subject of increasing study. Much of this work has focused on algorithms for finding an optimal or approximately optimal set of winning bids. Comparatively little attention has been paid to ..."
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Cited by 139 (9 self)
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General combinatorial auctions—auctions in which bidders place unrestricted bids for bundles of goods—are the subject of increasing study. Much of this work has focused on algorithms for finding an optimal or approximately optimal set of winning bids. Comparatively little attention has been paid to methodical evaluation and comparison of these algorithms. In particular, there has not been a systematic discussion of appropriate data sets that can serve as universally accepted and well motivated benchmarks. In this paper we present a suite of distribution families for generating realistic, economically motivated combinatorial bids in five broad realworld domains. We hope that this work will yield many comments, criticisms and extensions, bringing the community closer to a universal combinatorial auction test suite.
Frugal path mechanisms
, 2002
"... We consider the problem of selecting a low cost s − t path in a graph, where the edge costs are a secret known only to the various economic agents who own them. To solve this problem, Nisan and Ronen applied the celebrated VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism, which pays a premium to induce the edg ..."
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Cited by 115 (2 self)
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We consider the problem of selecting a low cost s − t path in a graph, where the edge costs are a secret known only to the various economic agents who own them. To solve this problem, Nisan and Ronen applied the celebrated VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism, which pays a premium to induce the edges to reveal their costs truthfully. We observe that this premium can be unacceptably high. There are simple instances where the mechanism pays Θ(k) times the actual cost of the path, even if there is an alternate path available that costs only (1 + ɛ) times as much. This inspires the frugal path problem, which is to design a mechanism that selects a path and induces truthful cost revelation without paying such a high premium. This paper contributes negative results on the frugal path problem. On two large classes of graphs, including ones having three nodedisjoint s − t paths, we prove that no reasonable mechanism can always avoid paying a high premium to induce truthtelling. In particular, we introduce a general class of min function mechanisms, and show that all min function mechanisms can be forced to overpay just as badly as VCG. On the other hand, we prove that (on two large classes of graphs) every truthful mechanism satisfying some reasonable properties is a min function mechanism. 1
Nash Equilibria in Competitive Societies, with Applications to Facility Location, Traffic Routing and Auction
, 2002
"... We consider the following class of problems. The value of an outcome to a society is measured via a submodular utility function (submodularity has a natural economic interpretation: decreasing marginal utility). Decisions, however are controlled by noncooperative agents who seek to maximise their ..."
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Cited by 103 (4 self)
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We consider the following class of problems. The value of an outcome to a society is measured via a submodular utility function (submodularity has a natural economic interpretation: decreasing marginal utility). Decisions, however are controlled by noncooperative agents who seek to maximise their own private utility. We present, under some basic assumptions, guarantees on the social performance of Nash equilibria. For submodular utility functions, any Nash equilibrium gives an expected social utility within a factor 2 of optimal, subject to a functiondependent additive term. For nondecreasing, submodular utility functions, any Nash equilibrium gives an expected social utility within a factor 1 + of optimal, where 0 1 is a number based upon the discrete curvature of the function. A condition under which all sets of social and private utility functions induce pure strategy Nash equilibria is presented. The case in which agents, themselves, make use of approximation algorithms in decision making is discussed and performance guarantees given. Finally we present some speci c problems that fall into our framework. These include the competitive versions of the facility location problem and kmedian problem, a maximisation version of the trac routing problem of Roughgarden and Tardos [16], and multipleitem auctions.
On agentmediated electronic commerce
 IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
, 2003
"... Abstract—This paper surveys and analyzes the state of the art of agentmediated electronic commerce (ecommerce), concentrating particularly on the businesstoconsumer (B2C) and businesstobusiness (B2B) aspects. From the consumer buying behavior perspective, agents are being used in the following ..."
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Cited by 93 (17 self)
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Abstract—This paper surveys and analyzes the state of the art of agentmediated electronic commerce (ecommerce), concentrating particularly on the businesstoconsumer (B2C) and businesstobusiness (B2B) aspects. From the consumer buying behavior perspective, agents are being used in the following activities: need identification, product brokering, buyer coalition formation, merchant brokering, and negotiation. The roles of agents in B2B ecommerce are discussed through the businesstobusiness transaction model that identifies agents as being employed in partnership formation, brokering, and negotiation. Having identified the roles for agents in B2C and B2B ecommerce, some of the key underpinning technologies of this vision are highlighted. Finally, we conclude by discussing the future directions and potential impediments to the widescale adoption of agentmediated ecommerce. Index Terms—Agentmediated electronic commerce, intelligent agents. 1
Mirage: A Microeconomic Resource Allocation System for Sensornet Testbeds
 In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE Workshop on Embedded Networked Sensors
, 2005
"... technical challenges of wireless SensorNets. As the size and demand for these testbeds grow, resource management will become increasingly important to the effectiveness of these environments. In this paper, we argue that a microeconomic resource allocation scheme, specifically the combinatorial auct ..."
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Cited by 55 (6 self)
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technical challenges of wireless SensorNets. As the size and demand for these testbeds grow, resource management will become increasingly important to the effectiveness of these environments. In this paper, we argue that a microeconomic resource allocation scheme, specifically the combinatorial auction, is well suited to testbed resource management. To demonstrate this, we present the Mirage resource allocation system. In Mirage, testbed resources are allocated using a repeated combinatorial auction within a closed virtual currency environment. Users compete for testbed resources by submitting bids which specify resource combinations of interest in space/time (e.g., "any 32 MICA2 motes for 8 hours anytime in the next three days") along with a maximum value amount the user is willing to pay. A combinatorial auction is then periodically run to determine the winning bids based on supply and demand while maximizing aggregate utility delivered to users. We have implemented a fully functional and secure prototype of Mirage and have been operating it in daily use for approximately two months on Intel Research Berkeley's 148mote SensorNet testbed.
ApproximatelyStrategyproof and Tractable MultiUnit Auctions
, 2004
"... We present an approximatelyefficient and approximatelystrategyproof auction mechanism for a singlegood multiunit allocation problem. The bidding language allows marginaldecreasing piecewise constant curves and quantitybased side constraints. We develop a fully polynomialtime approximation sch ..."
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Cited by 54 (11 self)
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We present an approximatelyefficient and approximatelystrategyproof auction mechanism for a singlegood multiunit allocation problem. The bidding language allows marginaldecreasing piecewise constant curves and quantitybased side constraints. We develop a fully polynomialtime approximation scheme for the multiunit allocation problem, which computes a approximation in worstcase time , given bids each with a constant number of pieces. We integrate this approximation scheme within a VickreyClarke Groves mechanism and compute payments for an asymptotic cost of ! . The maximal possible gain from manipulation to a bidder in the combined scheme is bounded by 429416716 " is the total surplus in the efficient outcome.
Expressive commerce and its application to sourcing: How we conducted $35 billion of generalized combinatorial auctions
"... Sourcing professionals buy several trillion dollars worth of goods and services yearly. We introduced a new paradigm called expressive commerce and applied it to sourcing. It combines the advantages of highly expressive human negotiation with the advantages of electronic reverse auctions. The idea i ..."
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Cited by 47 (8 self)
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Sourcing professionals buy several trillion dollars worth of goods and services yearly. We introduced a new paradigm called expressive commerce and applied it to sourcing. It combines the advantages of highly expressive human negotiation with the advantages of electronic reverse auctions. The idea is that supply and demand are expressed in drastically greater detail than in traditional electronic auctions, and are algorithmically cleared. This creates a Pareto efficiency improvement in the allocation (a winwin between the buyer and the sellers) but the market clearing problem is a highly complex combinatorial optimization problem. We developed the world’s fastest tree search algorithms for solving it. We have hosted $35 billion of sourcing using the technology, and created $4.4 billion of harddollar savings plus numerous hardertoquantify benefits. The suppliers also benefited by being able to express production efficiencies and creativity, and through exposure problem removal. Supply networks were redesigned, with quantitative understanding of the tradeoffs, and implemented in weeks instead of months.
Mdpop: Faithful distributed implementation of efficient social choice problems
 In AAMAS’06  Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
, 2006
"... In the efficient social choice problem, the goal is to assign values, subject to side constraints, to a set of variables to maximize the total utility across a population of agents, where each agent has private information about its utility function. In this paper we model the social choice problem ..."
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Cited by 41 (15 self)
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In the efficient social choice problem, the goal is to assign values, subject to side constraints, to a set of variables to maximize the total utility across a population of agents, where each agent has private information about its utility function. In this paper we model the social choice problem as a distributed constraint optimization problem (DCOP), in which each agent can communicate with other agents that share an interest in one or more variables. Whereas existing DCOP algorithms can be easily manipulated by an agent, either by misreporting private information or deviating from the algorithm, we introduce MDPOP, the first DCOP algorithm that provides a faithful distributed implementation for efficient social choice. This provides a concrete example of how the methods of mechanism design can be unified with those of distributed optimization. Faithfulness ensures that no agent can benefit by unilaterally deviating from any aspect of the protocol, neither informationrevelation, computation, nor communication, and whatever the private information of other agents. We allow for payments by agents to a central bank, which is the only central authority that we require. To achieve faithfulness, we carefully integrate the VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism with the DPOP algorithm, such that each agent is only asked to perform computation, report