ACO The ACO Seminar (2013–2014)

Nov. 21, 3:30pm, Wean 8220
Constantinos Daskalakis, MIT
An Optimization Approach to Mechanism Design


I will present an optimization framework based on optimal transport theory characterizing the structure of revenue-optimal mechanisms in single-bidder multi-item settings. Our framework provides closed-form descriptions of mechanisms, generalizes Myerson's celebrated single-item auction, and exhibits simple settings with very rich structure in the optimal mechanism. This part of the talk is based on work with Alan Deckelbaum and Christos Tzamos.

For the second part of the talk, which will be algorithmic, I will revisit the question posed by Nisan and Ronen in the birth of algorithmic mechanism design: How much harder is optimizing an objective over inputs that are furnished by rational agents compared to when the inputs are known? I will present a computationally efficient reduction from mechanism design (i.e. optimizing an arbitrary objective over rational inputs) to algorithm design (i.e. optimizing the same objective over known inputs) in general Bayesian settings. This part of the talk is based on work with Yang Cai and Matt Weinberg.

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