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**1 - 3**of**3**### Prophet Secretary

, 2015

"... Optimal stopping theory is a powerful tool for analyzing scenarios such as online auctions in which we generally require optimizing an objective function over the space of stopping rules for an allocation process under uncertainty. Perhaps the most classic problems of stopping theory are the prophet ..."

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Optimal stopping theory is a powerful tool for analyzing scenarios such as online auctions in which we generally require optimizing an objective function over the space of stopping rules for an allocation process under uncertainty. Perhaps the most classic problems of stopping theory are the prophet inequal-ity problem and the secretary problem. The classical prophet inequality states that by choosing the same threshold OPT/2 for every step, one can achieve the tight competitive ratio of 0.5. On the other hand, for the basic secretary problem, the optimal strategy achieves the tight competitive ratio of 1/e ≈ 0.36 In this paper, we introduce prophet secretary, a natural combination of the prophet inequality and the secretary problems. An example motivation for our problem is as follows. Consider a seller that has an item to sell on the market to a set of arriving customers. The seller knows the types of customers that may be interested in the item and he has a price distribution for each type: the price offered by a customer of a type is anticipated to be drawn from the corresponding distribution. However, the customers arrive in a random order. Upon the arrival of a customer, the seller makes an irrevocable decision whether to sell the item at the offered price. We address the question of finding a strategy for selling the item at a high price. In particular, we show that by using a single uniform threshold one cannot break the 0.5 barrier of

### Online prophet-inequality matching . . .

, 2012

"... We study the problem of online prophet-inequality matching in bipartite graphs. There is a static set of bidders and an online stream of items. We represent the interest of bidders in items by a weighted bipartite graph. Each bidder has a capacity, i.e., an upper bound on the number of items that ca ..."

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We study the problem of online prophet-inequality matching in bipartite graphs. There is a static set of bidders and an online stream of items. We represent the interest of bidders in items by a weighted bipartite graph. Each bidder has a capacity, i.e., an upper bound on the number of items that can be allocated to her. The weight of a matching is the total weight of edges matched to the bidders. Upon the arrival of an item, the online algorithm should either allocate it to a bidder or discard it. The objective is to maximize the weight of the resulting matching. We consider this model in a stochastic setting where we know the distribution of the incoming items in advance. Furthermore, we allow the items to be drawn from different distributions, i.e., we may assume that the tth item is drawn from distribution Dt. In contrast to i.i.d. model, this allows us to model the change in the distribution of items throughout the time. We call this setting the Prophet-Inequality Matching because of the possibility of having a different distribution for each time. We generalize the classic prophet inequality by presenting an algorithm with the approximation ratio of 1 − 1√ k+3 where k is the minimum capacity. In case of k = 2, the algorithm gives a tight ratio of 1 2 which is a different proof of the prophet inequality.