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76
Truth revelation in approximately efficient combinatorial auctions
 Journal of the ACM
, 2002
"... Abstract. Some important classical mechanisms considered in Microeconomics and Game Theory require the solution of a difficult optimization problem. This is true of mechanisms for combinatorial auctions, which have in recent years assumed practical importance, and in particular of the gold standard ..."
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Cited by 230 (1 self)
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Abstract. Some important classical mechanisms considered in Microeconomics and Game Theory require the solution of a difficult optimization problem. This is true of mechanisms for combinatorial auctions, which have in recent years assumed practical importance, and in particular of the gold standard for combinatorial auctions, the Generalized Vickrey Auction (GVA). Traditional analysis of these mechanisms—in particular, their truth revelation properties—assumes that the optimization problems are solved precisely. In reality, these optimization problems can usually be solved only in an approximate fashion. We investigate the impact on such mechanisms of replacing exact solutions by approximate ones. Specifically, we look at a particular greedy optimization method. We show that the GVA payment scheme does not provide for a truth revealing mechanism. We introduce another scheme that does guarantee truthfulness for a restricted class of players. We demonstrate the latter property by identifying natural properties for combinatorial auctions and showing that, for our restricted class of players, they imply that truthful strategies are dominant. Those properties have applicability beyond the specific auction studied.
Combinatorial Auctions with Decreasing Marginal Utilities
, 2001
"... This paper considers combinatorial auctions among such submodular buyers. The valuations of such buyers are placed within a hierarchy of valuations that exhibit no complementarities, a hierarchy that includes also OR and XOR combinations of singleton valuations, and valuations satisfying the gross s ..."
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Cited by 202 (25 self)
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This paper considers combinatorial auctions among such submodular buyers. The valuations of such buyers are placed within a hierarchy of valuations that exhibit no complementarities, a hierarchy that includes also OR and XOR combinations of singleton valuations, and valuations satisfying the gross substitutes property. Those last valuations are shown to form a zeromeasure subset of the submodular valuations that have positive measure. While we show that the allocation problem among submodular valuations is NPhard, we present an efficient greedy 2approximation algorithm for this case and generalize it to the case of limited complementarities. No such approximation algorithm exists in a setting allowing for arbitrary complementarities. Some results about strategic aspects of combinatorial auctions among players with decreasing marginal utilities are also presented.
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 175 (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
Incentive compatible multi unit combinatorial auctions
 In TARK 03
, 2003
"... This paper deals with multiunit combinatorial auctions where there are n types of goods for sale, and for each good there is some fixed number of units. We focus on the case where each bidder desires a relatively small number of units of each good. In particular, this includes the case where each g ..."
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Cited by 112 (13 self)
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This paper deals with multiunit combinatorial auctions where there are n types of goods for sale, and for each good there is some fixed number of units. We focus on the case where each bidder desires a relatively small number of units of each good. In particular, this includes the case where each good has exactly k units, and each bidder desires no more than a single unit of each good. We provide incentive compatible mechanisms for combinatorial auctions for the general case where bidders are not limited to single minded valuations. The mechanisms we give have approximation ratios close to the best possible for both online and offline scenarios. This is the first result where nonVCG mechanisms are derived for nonsingle minded bidders for a natural model of combinatorial auctions.
Learning the Empirical Hardness of Optimization Problems: The case of combinatorial auctions
 In CP
, 2002
"... We propose a new approach to understanding the algorithmspecific empirical hardness of optimization problems. In this work we focus on the empirical hardness of the winner determination probleman optimization problem arising in combinatorial auctionswhen solved by ILOG's CPLEX software. ..."
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Cited by 78 (23 self)
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We propose a new approach to understanding the algorithmspecific empirical hardness of optimization problems. In this work we focus on the empirical hardness of the winner determination probleman optimization problem arising in combinatorial auctionswhen solved by ILOG's CPLEX software. We consider nine widelyused problem distributions and sample randomly from a continuum of parameter settings for each distribution. First, we contrast the overall empirical hardness of the different distributions. Second, we identify a large number of distributionnonspecific features of data instances and use statistical regression techniques to learn, evaluate and interpret a function from these features to the predicted hardness of an instance.
Approximations of Weighted Independent Set and Hereditary Subset Problems
 JOURNAL OF GRAPH ALGORITHMS AND APPLICATIONS
, 2000
"... The focus of this study is to clarify the approximability of weighted versions of the maximum independent set problem. In particular, we report improved performance ratios in boundeddegree graphs, inductive graphs, and general graphs, as well as for the unweighted problem in sparse graphs. Wher ..."
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Cited by 71 (6 self)
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The focus of this study is to clarify the approximability of weighted versions of the maximum independent set problem. In particular, we report improved performance ratios in boundeddegree graphs, inductive graphs, and general graphs, as well as for the unweighted problem in sparse graphs. Where possible, the techniques are applied to related hereditary subgraph and subset problem, obtaining ratios better than previously reported for e.g. Weighted Set Packing, Longest Common Subsequence, and Independent Set in hypergraphs.
CABOB: A Fast Optimal Algorithm for Winner Determination in Combinatorial Auctions
, 2005
"... Combinatorial auctions where bidders can bid on bundles of items can lead to more economically efficient allocations, but determining the winners is NPcomplete and inapproximable. We present CABOB, a sophisticated optimal search algorithm for the problem. It uses decomposition techniques, upper and ..."
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Cited by 55 (6 self)
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Combinatorial auctions where bidders can bid on bundles of items can lead to more economically efficient allocations, but determining the winners is NPcomplete and inapproximable. We present CABOB, a sophisticated optimal search algorithm for the problem. It uses decomposition techniques, upper and lower bounding (also across components), elaborate and dynamically chosen bidordering heuristics, and a host of structural observations. CABOB attempts to capture structure in any instance without making assumptions about the instance distribution. Experiments against the fastest prior algorithm, CPLEX 8.0, show that CABOB is often faster, seldom drastically slower, and in many cases drastically faster—especially in cases with structure. CABOB’s search runs in linear space and has significantly better anytime performance than CPLEX. We also uncover interesting aspects of the problem itself. First, problems with short bids, which were hard for the first generation of specialized algorithms, are easy. Second, almost all of the CATS distributions are easy, and the run time is virtually unaffected by the number of goods. Third, we test several random restart strategies, showing that they do not help on this problem—the runtime distribution does not have a heavy tail.
Bidding algorithms for simultaneous auctions: A case study
 In Proceedings of Third ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
, 2001
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Boosting as a Metaphor for Algorithm Design
"... Hard computational problems are often solvable by multiple algorithms that each perform well on different problem instances. We describe techniques for building an algorithm portfolio that can outperform its constituent algorithms, just as the aggregate classifiers learned by boosting outperform ..."
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Cited by 34 (9 self)
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Hard computational problems are often solvable by multiple algorithms that each perform well on different problem instances. We describe techniques for building an algorithm portfolio that can outperform its constituent algorithms, just as the aggregate classifiers learned by boosting outperform the classifiers of which they are composed. We also provide a method for generating test distributions to focus future algorithm design work on problems that are hard for an existing portfolio. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our techniques on the combinatorial auction winner determination problem, showing that our portfolio outperforms the stateoftheart algorithm by a factor of three.
Algorithms for Combinatorial Coalition Formation and Payoff Division in an Electronic Marketplace
 In Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems(AAMAS
, 2001
"... In an electronic marketplace coalition formation allows buyers to enjoy a price discount for each item while combinatorial auction enables buyers to place bids for a bundle of items that are complementary. Coalition formation and combinatorial auction both help to improve the efficiency of a market ..."
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Cited by 30 (1 self)
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In an electronic marketplace coalition formation allows buyers to enjoy a price discount for each item while combinatorial auction enables buyers to place bids for a bundle of items that are complementary. Coalition formation and combinatorial auction both help to improve the efficiency of a market and have received much attention from economists and computer scientists. But neither in laboratories nor in practice has there been literature on the situations where both coalition formation and combinatorial auctions exist. In this paper we consider an emarket where each buyer places a bid on a combination of items with a reservation cost, and sellers offer price discounts for each item based on volumes. We call coalition formation under this condition a Combinatorial Coalition Formation (CCF) problem since coalition formation is motivated by price discounts on single items while multiple items are complementary for buyers. By artificially dividing the reservation cost of each buyer appropriately among the items we can construct optimal coalitions with respect to each item. We then try to make these coalitions satisfy the complementarity of the items, and thus induce the optimal solution. Based on this idea we present polynomialtime algorithms to find a semioptimal solution of CCF and a payoff division scheme that is in the core of the coalition when linear price functions are applied, and in the pseudocore when general price functions are applied. Simulation results show that the algorithms obtain solutions in a satisfactory ratio to the optimal value.