Converting any Algorithm into an Incentive-Compatible Mechanism

Speaker  Robert Kleinberg

Host  Madhu Sudan

Affiliation  Cornell University

Duration  01:11:59

Date recorded  1 December 2010

Does algorithm design become harder in the presence of incentive constraints? The theory of algorithmic mechanism design is largely founded on the presumption that the answer is affirmative, a presumption that has been rigorously confirmed under various interpretations of the question. This is unfortunate, since it would be very convenient if there existed generic procedures to convert any algorithm into an incentive-compatible mechanism with little or no computational overhead.

In this talk I will identify two broad settings in which such generic procedures exist. First, I will present a reduction that removes the computational overhead of computing payments in truthful mechanisms: it transforms any monotone allocation function into a randomized, truthful-in-expectation mechanism that evaluates the allocation function only once. Second, I will present a polynomial-time reduction transforming an arbitrary algorithm into a Bayesian incentive-compatible mechanism, given a suitable amount of information about the type distributions of agents.

The first result is joint work with Moshe Babaioff and Alex Slivkins; the second result is joint work with Jason Hartline and Azarakhsh Malekian.

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