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2,110
Multiagent Learning Using a Variable Learning Rate
 Artificial Intelligence
, 2002
"... Learning to act in a multiagent environment is a difficult problem since the normal definition of an optimal policy no longer applies. The optimal policy at any moment depends on the policies of the other agents and so creates a situation of learning a moving target. Previous learning algorithms hav ..."
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Cited by 196 (9 self)
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Learning to act in a multiagent environment is a difficult problem since the normal definition of an optimal policy no longer applies. The optimal policy at any moment depends on the policies of the other agents and so creates a situation of learning a moving target. Previous learning algorithms have one of two shortcomings depending on their approach. They either converge to a policy that may not be optimal against the specific opponents' policies, or they may not converge at all. In this article we examine this learning problem in the framework of stochastic games. We look at a number of previous learning algorithms showing how they fail at one of the above criteria. We then contribute a new reinforcement learning technique using a variable learning rate to overcome these shortcomings. Specifically, we introduce the WoLF principle, "Win or Learn Fast", for varying the learning rate. We examine this technique theoretically, proving convergence in selfplay on a restricted class of iterated matrix games. We also present empirical results on a variety of more general stochastic games, in situations of selfplay and otherwise, demonstrating the wide applicability of this method.
Computationally feasible VCG mechanisms
 In Proceedings of the Second ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC’00
, 2000
"... A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore comp ..."
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Cited by 192 (5 self)
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A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore computationally infeasible. However, if the optimal outcome is replaced by the results of a suboptimal algorithm, the resulting mechanism (termed VCGbased) is no longer necessarily truthful. The first part of this paper studies this phenomenon in depth and shows that it is near universal. Specifically, we prove that essentially all reasonable approximations or heuristics for combinatorial auctions as well as a wide class of cost minimization problems yield nontruthful VCGbased mechanisms. We generalize these results for affine maximizers. The second part of this paper proposes a general method for circumventing the above problem. We introduce a modification of VCGbased mechanisms in which the agents are given a chance to improve the output of the underlying algorithm. When the agents behave truthfully, the welfare obtained by the mechanism is at least as good as the one obtained by the algorithm’s output. We provide a strong rationale for truthtelling behavior. Our method satisfies individual rationality as well.
Truthful Mechanisms for OneParameter Agents
"... In this paper, we show how to design truthful (dominant strategy) mechanisms for several combinatorial problems where each agent’s secret data is naturally expressed by a single positive real number. The goal of the mechanisms we consider is to allocate loads placed on the agents, and an agent’s sec ..."
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Cited by 192 (4 self)
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In this paper, we show how to design truthful (dominant strategy) mechanisms for several combinatorial problems where each agent’s secret data is naturally expressed by a single positive real number. The goal of the mechanisms we consider is to allocate loads placed on the agents, and an agent’s secret data is the cost she incurs per unit load. We give an exact characterization for the algorithms that can be used to design truthful mechanisms for such load balancing problems using appropriate side payments. We use our characterization to design polynomial time truthful mechanisms for several problems in combinatorial optimization to which the celebrated VCG mechanism does not apply. For scheduling related parallel machines (QjjCmax), we give a 3approximation mechanism based on randomized rounding of the optimal fractional solution. This problem is NPcomplete, and the standard approximation algorithms (greedy loadbalancing or the PTAS) cannot be used in truthful mechanisms. We show our mechanism to be frugal, in that the total payment needed is only a logarithmic factor more than the actual costs incurred by the machines, unless one machine dominates the total processing power. We also give truthful mechanisms for maximum flow, Qjj P Cj (scheduling related machines to minimize the sum of completion times), optimizing an affine function over a fixed set, and special cases of uncapacitated facility location. In addition, for Qjj P wjCj (minimizing the weighted sum of completion times), we prove a lower bound of 2 p 3 for the best approximation ratio achievable by a truthful mechanism.
Distributed Rational Decision Making
, 1999
"... Introduction Automated negotiation systems with selfinterested agents are becoming increasingly important. One reason for this is the technology push of a growing standardized communication infrastructureInternet, WWW, NII, EDI, KQML, FIPA, Concordia, Voyager, Odyssey, Telescript, Java, etco ..."
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Cited by 174 (0 self)
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Introduction Automated negotiation systems with selfinterested agents are becoming increasingly important. One reason for this is the technology push of a growing standardized communication infrastructureInternet, WWW, NII, EDI, KQML, FIPA, Concordia, Voyager, Odyssey, Telescript, Java, etcover which separately designed agents belonging to different organizations can interact in an open environment in realtime and safely carry out transactions. The second reason is strong application pull for computer support for negotiation at the operative decision making level. For example, we are witnessing the advent of small transaction electronic commerce on the Internet for purchasing goods, information, and communication bandwidth [29]. There is also an industrial trend toward virtual enterprises: dynamic alliances of small, agile enterprises which together can take advantage of economies of scale when available (e.g., respond to mor
A Modal Logic for Coalitional Power in Games
, 2002
"... We present a modal logic for reasoning about what groups of agents can bring about by collective action. Given a set of states, we introduce game frames which associate with every state a strategic game among the agents. Game frames are essentially extensive games of perfect information with simulta ..."
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Cited by 150 (6 self)
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We present a modal logic for reasoning about what groups of agents can bring about by collective action. Given a set of states, we introduce game frames which associate with every state a strategic game among the agents. Game frames are essentially extensive games of perfect information with simultaneous actions, where every action profile is associated with a new state, the outcome of the game. A coalition of players is effective for a set of states # in a game if the coalition can guarantee the outcome of the game to lie in # . We propose a modal logic (Coalition Logic) to formalize reasoning about effectivity in game frames, where #### expresses that coalition # is effective for #. An axiomatization is presented and completeness proved. Coalition Logic provides a unifying gametheoretic view of modal logic: Since nondeterministic processes and extensive games without parallel moves emerge as particular instances of game frames, normal and nonnormal modal logics correspond to 1 and 2player versions of Coalition Logic. The satisfiability problem for Coalition Logic is shown to be PSPACEcomplete.
Global Games: Theory and Applications
 in “Advances in Economics and Econometrics, the Eighth World Congress”, Dewatripont, Hansen and Turnovsky, Eds
, 2003
"... COWLES FOUNDATION DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 1275 ..."
The Price of Anarchy of Finite Congestion Games
 In Proceedings of the 37th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC
, 2005
"... Abstract We consider the price of anarchy of pure Nash equilibria in congestion games with linearlatency functions. For asymmetric games, the price of anarchy of maximum social cost is \Theta (p N),where N is the number of players. For all other cases of symmetric or asymmetric games andfor both max ..."
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Cited by 140 (7 self)
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Abstract We consider the price of anarchy of pure Nash equilibria in congestion games with linearlatency functions. For asymmetric games, the price of anarchy of maximum social cost is \Theta (p N),where N is the number of players. For all other cases of symmetric or asymmetric games andfor both maximum and average social cost, the price of anarchy is 5 /2. We extend the results tolatency functions that are polynomials of bounded degree. We also extend some of the results to mixed Nash equilibria.
Algorithms, Games, and the Internet
 In STOC
, 2001
"... If the Internet is the next great subject for Theoretical Computer Science to model and illuminate mathematically, then Game Theory, and Mathematical Economics more generally, are likely to prove useful tools. In this talk I survey some opportunities and challenges in this important frontier. 1. ..."
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Cited by 136 (0 self)
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If the Internet is the next great subject for Theoretical Computer Science to model and illuminate mathematically, then Game Theory, and Mathematical Economics more generally, are likely to prove useful tools. In this talk I survey some opportunities and challenges in this important frontier. 1.
Competitive auctions and digital goods
 In Proc. 12th Symp. on Discrete Alg
, 2001
"... Abstract We study a class of single round, sealed bid auctions for items in unlimited supply such as digital goods. We focus on auctions that are truthful and competitive. Truthful auctions encourage bidders to bid their utility; competitive auctions yield revenue within a constant factor of the rev ..."
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Cited by 135 (27 self)
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Abstract We study a class of single round, sealed bid auctions for items in unlimited supply such as digital goods. We focus on auctions that are truthful and competitive. Truthful auctions encourage bidders to bid their utility; competitive auctions yield revenue within a constant factor of the revenue for optimal fixed pricing. We show that for any truthful auction, even a multiprice auction, the expected revenue does not exceed that for optimal fixed pricing. We also give a bound on how far the revenue for optimal fixed pricing can be from the total market utility. We show that several randomized auctions are truthful and competitive under certain assumptions, and that no truthful deterministic auction is competitive. We present simulation results which confirm that our auctions compare favorably to fixed pricing. Some of our results extend to bounded supply markets, for which we also get truthful and competitive auctions.
Negotiation and cooperation in multiagent environments
 Artificial Intelligence
, 1997
"... Automated intelligent agents inhabiting a shared environmentmust coordinate their activities. Cooperation { not merely coordination { may improve the performance of the individual agents or the overall behavior of the system they form. Research in Distributed Arti cial Intelligence (DAI) addresses t ..."
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Cited by 134 (5 self)
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Automated intelligent agents inhabiting a shared environmentmust coordinate their activities. Cooperation { not merely coordination { may improve the performance of the individual agents or the overall behavior of the system they form. Research in Distributed Arti cial Intelligence (DAI) addresses the problem of designing automated intelligent systems which interact e ectively. DAI is not the only eld to take on the challenge of understanding cooperation and coordination. There are a variety of other multientity environments in which the entities coordinate their activity and cooperate. Among them are groups of people, animals, particles, and computers. We argue that in order to address the challenge of building coordinated and collaborated intelligent agents, it is bene cial to combine AI techniques with methods and techniques from a range of multientity elds, such as game theory, operations research, physics and philosophy. To support this claim, we describe some of our projects, where we have successfully taken an interdisciplinary approach. We demonstrate the bene ts in applying multientity methodologies and show the adaptations, modi cations and extensions necessary for solving the DAI problems.