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A dynamic parimutuel market for hedging, wagering, and information aggregation
 In Proceedings of the Fifth ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC’04
, 2004
"... I develop a new mechanism for risk allocation and information speculation called a dynamic parimutuel market (DPM). A DPM acts as hybrid between a parimutuel market and a continuous double auction (CDA), inheriting some of the advantages of both. Like a parimutuel market, a DPM offers infinite bu ..."
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Cited by 37 (7 self)
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I develop a new mechanism for risk allocation and information speculation called a dynamic parimutuel market (DPM). A DPM acts as hybrid between a parimutuel market and a continuous double auction (CDA), inheriting some of the advantages of both. Like a parimutuel market, a DPM offers infinite buyin liquidity and zero risk for the market institution; like a CDA, a DPM can continuously react to new information, dynamically incorporate information into prices, and allow traders to lock in gains or limit losses by selling prior to event resolution. The trader interface can be designed to mimic the familiar double auction format with bidask queues, though with an addition variable called the payoff per share. The DPM price function can be viewed as an automated market maker always offering to sell at some price, and moving the price appropriately according to demand. Since the mechanism is parimutuel (i.e., redistributive), it is guaranteed to pay out exactly the amount of money taken in. I explore a number of variations on the basic DPM, analyzing the properties of each, and solving in closed form for their respective price functions.
Complexity of Combinatorial Market Makers ∗
"... We analyze the computational complexity of market maker pricing algorithms for combinatorial prediction markets. We focus on Hanson’s popular logarithmic market scoring rule market maker (LMSR). Our goal is to implicitly maintain correct LMSR prices across an exponentially large outcome space. We ex ..."
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Cited by 33 (17 self)
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We analyze the computational complexity of market maker pricing algorithms for combinatorial prediction markets. We focus on Hanson’s popular logarithmic market scoring rule market maker (LMSR). Our goal is to implicitly maintain correct LMSR prices across an exponentially large outcome space. We examine both permutation combinatorics, where outcomes are permutations of objects, and Boolean combinatorics, where outcomes are combinations of binary events. We look at three restrictive languages that limit what traders can bet on. Even with severely limited languages, we find that LMSR pricing is #Phard, even when the same language admits polynomialtime matching without the market maker. We then propose an approximation technique for pricing permutation markets based on a recent algorithm for online permutation learning. The connections we draw between LMSR pricing and the vast literature on online learning with expert advice may be of independent interest.
Betting on permutations
 In ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
, 2007
"... We consider a permutation betting scenario, where people wager on the final ordering of n candidates: for example, the outcome of a horse race. We examine the auctioneer problem of risklessly matching up wagers or, equivalently, finding arbitrage opportunities among the proposed wagers. Requiring bi ..."
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Cited by 27 (19 self)
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We consider a permutation betting scenario, where people wager on the final ordering of n candidates: for example, the outcome of a horse race. We examine the auctioneer problem of risklessly matching up wagers or, equivalently, finding arbitrage opportunities among the proposed wagers. Requiring bidders to explicitly list the orderings that they’d like to bet on is both unnatural and intractable, because the number of orderings is n! and the number of subsets of orderings is 2 n!. We propose two expressive betting languages that seem natural for bidders, and examine the computational complexity of the auctioneer problem in each case. Subset betting allows traders to bet either that a candidate will end up ranked among some subset of positions in the final ordering, for example, “horse A will finish in positions 4, 9, or 1321”, or that a position will be taken by some subset of candidates, for example “horse A, B, or D will finish in position 2”. For subset betting, we show that the auctioneer problem can be solved in polynomial time if orders are divisible. Pair betting allows traders to bet on whether one candidate will end up ranked higher than another candidate, for example “horse A will beat horse B”. We prove that the auctioneer problem becomes NPhard for pair betting. We identify a sufficient condition for the existence of a pair betting match that can be verified in polynomial time. We also show that a natural greedy algorithm gives a poor approximation for indivisible orders.
Pricing combinatorial markets for tournaments
 In Proc. of STOC
, 2008
"... In a prediction market, agents trade assets whose value is tied to a future event, for example the outcome of the next presidential election. Asset prices determine a probability distribution over the set of possible outcomes. Typically, the outcome space is small, allowing agents to directly trade ..."
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Cited by 21 (15 self)
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In a prediction market, agents trade assets whose value is tied to a future event, for example the outcome of the next presidential election. Asset prices determine a probability distribution over the set of possible outcomes. Typically, the outcome space is small, allowing agents to directly trade in each outcome, and allowing a market maker to explicitly update asset prices. Combinatorial markets, in contrast, work to estimate a full joint distribution of dependent observations, in which case the outcome space grows exponentially. In this paper, we consider the problem of pricing combinatorial markets for singleelimination tournaments. With n competing teams, the outcome space is of size 2 n−1. We show that the general pricing problem for tournaments is #Phard. We derive a polynomialtime algorithm for a restricted betting language based on a Bayesian network representation of the probability distribution. The language is fairly natural in the context of tournaments, allowing for example bets of the form “team i wins game k”. We believe that our betting language is the first for combinatorial market makers that is both useful and tractable. We briefly discuss a heuristic approximation technique for the general case.
Designing Markets for Prediction
, 2010
"... We survey the literature on prediction mechanisms, including prediction markets and peer prediction systems. We pay particular attention to the design process, highlighting the objectives and properties that are important in the design of good prediction mechanisms. ..."
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Cited by 18 (3 self)
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We survey the literature on prediction mechanisms, including prediction markets and peer prediction systems. We pay particular attention to the design process, highlighting the objectives and properties that are important in the design of good prediction mechanisms.
Selffinanced wagering mechanisms for forecasting
 EC
"... We examine a class of wagering mechanisms designed to elicit truthful predictions from a group of people without requiring any outside subsidy. We propose a number of desirable properties for wagering mechanisms, identifying one mechanism—weightedscore wagering—that satisfies all of the properties. ..."
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Cited by 14 (7 self)
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We examine a class of wagering mechanisms designed to elicit truthful predictions from a group of people without requiring any outside subsidy. We propose a number of desirable properties for wagering mechanisms, identifying one mechanism—weightedscore wagering—that satisfies all of the properties. Moreover, we show that a singleparameter generalization of weightedscore wagering is the only mechanism that satisfies these properties. We explore some variants of the core mechanism based on practical considerations. Categories and Subject Descriptors
Efficient market making via convex optimization, and a connection to online learning
 ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation. To Appear
, 2012
"... We propose a general framework for the design of securities markets over combinatorial or infinite state or outcome spaces. The framework enables the design of computationally efficient markets tailored to an arbitrary, yet relatively small, space of securities with bounded payoff. We prove that any ..."
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Cited by 13 (8 self)
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We propose a general framework for the design of securities markets over combinatorial or infinite state or outcome spaces. The framework enables the design of computationally efficient markets tailored to an arbitrary, yet relatively small, space of securities with bounded payoff. We prove that any market satisfying a set of intuitive conditions must price securities via a convex cost function, which is constructed via conjugate duality. Rather than deal with an exponentially large or infinite outcome space directly, our framework only requires optimization over a convex hull. By reducing the problem of automated market making to convex optimization, where many efficient algorithms exist, we arrive at a range of new polynomialtime pricing mechanisms for various problems. We demonstrate the advantages of this framework with the design of some particular markets. We also show that by relaxing the convex hull we can gain computational tractability without compromising the market institution’s bounded budget. Although our framework was designed with the goal of deriving efficient automated market makers for markets with very large outcome spaces, this framework also provides new insights into the relationship between market design and machine learning, and into the complete market setting. Using our framework, we illustrate the mathematical parallels between cost function based markets and online learning and establish a correspondence between cost function based markets and market scoring rules for complete markets. 1
Automated MarketMaking in the Large: The Gates Hillman Prediction Market
"... We designed and built the Gates Hillman Prediction Market (GHPM) to predict the opening day of the Gates and Hillman Centers, the new computer science buildings at Carnegie Mellon University. The market ran for almost a year and attracted 169 active traders who placed almost 40,000 bets with an auto ..."
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Cited by 9 (5 self)
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We designed and built the Gates Hillman Prediction Market (GHPM) to predict the opening day of the Gates and Hillman Centers, the new computer science buildings at Carnegie Mellon University. The market ran for almost a year and attracted 169 active traders who placed almost 40,000 bets with an automated market maker. Ranging over 365 possible opening days, the market’s event partition size is the largest ever elicited in any prediction market by an order of magnitude. A market of this size required new advances, including a novel spanbased elicitation interface. The results of the GHPM are important for two reasons. First, we uncovered two flaws of current automated market makers: spikiness and liquidityinsensitivity, and we develop the mathematical underpinnings of these flaws. Second, the market provides a valuable corpus of identitylinked trades. We use this data set to explore whether the market reacted to or anticipated official communications, how selfreported trader confidence had little relation to actual performance, and how trade frequencies suggest a power law distribution. Most significantly, the data enabled us to evaluate two competing hypotheses about how markets aggregate information, the Marginal Trader Hypothesis and the Hayek Hypothesis; the data strongly support the former.
Parimutuel betting on permutations
 In International Workshop on Internet and Network Economics
, 2008
"... We focus on a permutation betting market under parimutuel call auction model where traders bet on the final ranking of n candidates. We present a Proportional Betting mechanism for this market. Our mechanism allows the traders to bet on any subset of the n 2 ‘candidaterank ’ pairs, and rewards them ..."
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Cited by 8 (0 self)
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We focus on a permutation betting market under parimutuel call auction model where traders bet on the final ranking of n candidates. We present a Proportional Betting mechanism for this market. Our mechanism allows the traders to bet on any subset of the n 2 ‘candidaterank ’ pairs, and rewards them proportionally to the number of pairs that appear in the final outcome. We show that market organizer’s decision problem for this mechanism can be formulated as a convex program of polynomial size. More importantly, the formulation yields a set of n 2 unique marginal prices that are sufficient to price the bets in this mechanism, and are computable in polynomialtime. The marginal prices reflect the traders ’ beliefs about the marginal distributions over outcomes. We also propose techniques to compute the joint distribution over n! permutations from these marginal distributions. We show that using a maximum entropy criterion, we can obtain a concise parametric form (with only n 2 parameters) for the joint distribution which is defined over an exponentially large state space. We then present an approximation algorithm for computing the parameters of this distribution. In fact, the algorithm addresses the generic problem of finding the maximum entropy distribution over permutations that has a given mean, and may be of independent interest. 1
Price Updating in Combinatorial Prediction Markets with Bayesian Networks
"... To overcome the #Phardness of computing/updating prices in logarithm market scoring rulebased (LMSRbased) combinatorial prediction markets, Chen et al. [5] recently used a simple Bayesian network to represent the prices of securities in combinatorial prediction markets for tournaments, and showed ..."
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Cited by 8 (3 self)
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To overcome the #Phardness of computing/updating prices in logarithm market scoring rulebased (LMSRbased) combinatorial prediction markets, Chen et al. [5] recently used a simple Bayesian network to represent the prices of securities in combinatorial prediction markets for tournaments, and showed that two types of popular securities are structure preserving. In this paper, we significantly extend this idea by employing Bayesian networks in general combinatorial prediction markets. We reveal a very natural connection between LMSRbased combinatorial prediction markets and probabilistic belief aggregation, which leads to a complete characterization of all structure preserving securities for decomposable network structures. Notably, the main results by Chen et al. [5] are corollaries of our characterization. We then prove that in order for a very basic set of securities to be structure preserving, the graph of the Bayesian network must be decomposable. We also discuss some approximation techniques for securities that are not structure preserving. 1