DOI: 11, 2021Proceedings Paper

Learning Within an Instance for Designing High-Revenue Combinatorial Auctions

Siddharth PrasadTuomas Sandholm


We develop a new framework for designing truthful, high-revenue (combinatorial) auctions for limited supply. Our mechanism learns within an instance. It generalizes and improves over previously-studied random-sampling mechanisms. It first samples a participatory group of bidders, then samples several learning groups of bidders from the remaining pool of bidders, learns a high-revenue auction from the learning groups, and finally runs that auction on the participatory group. Previous work on random-sampling mechanisms focused primarily on unlimited supply. Limited supply poses additional significant technical challenges, since allocations of items to bidders must be feasible. We prove guarantees on the performance of our mechanism based on a market-shrinkage term and a new complexity measure we coin partition discrepancy. Partition discrepancy simultaneously measures the intrinsic complexity of the mechanism class and the uniformity of the set of bidders. We then introduce new auction classes that can be parameterized in a way that does not depend on the number of bidders participating, and prove strong guarantees for these classes. We show how our mechanism can be implemented efficiently by leveraging practically-efficient rout...Continue Reading

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