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DIMACS Theory of Computing Seminar

Improved Truthful Mechanisms for Combinatorial Auctions with Submodular Bidders

Sepehr Assadi (Rutgers)

Location:  CoRE 301
Date & time: Wednesday, 11 September 2019 at 11:00AM - 12:00PM

Abstract: A longstanding open problem in Algorithmic Mechanism Design is to design computationally-efficient truthful mechanisms for (approximately) maximizing welfare in combinatorial auctions with submodular bidders. The first such mechanism was obtained by Dobzinski, Nisan, and Schapira [STOC’06] who gave an O(log^2 m)-approximation where m is number of items. This problem has been studied extensively since, culminating in an O(sqrt{log m})-approximation mechanism by Dobzinski [STOC’16].

In this talk, we present a computationally-efficient truthful mechanism with approximation ratio that improves upon the state-of-the-art by an exponential factor. In particular, our mechanism achieves an O((log log m)^3)-approximation in expectation, uses only O(n) demand queries, and has universal truthfulness guarantee. 

Based on joint work with Sahil Singla; to appear in FOCS 19.