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A Grey-Box Approach to Automated Mechanism Design

Jinzhong Niu, Kai Cai, and Simon Parsons. A Grey-Box Approach to Automated Mechanism Design. In Proceedings of the Twelfth Workshop on Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce (AMEC XII), Toronto, Canada, 2010.
Extended version of the AAMAS'10 paper.




Auctions play an important role in electronic commerce, and have been used to solve problems in distributed computing. Automated approaches to designing effective auction mechanisms are helpful in reducing the burden of traditional game theoretic, analytic approaches and in searching through the large space of possible auction mechanisms. This paper presents an approach to automated mechanism design (AMD) in the domain of double auctions. We describe a novel parametrized space of double auctions, and then introduce an evolutionary search method that searches this space of parameters. The approach evaluates auction mechanisms using the framework of the TAC Market Design Game and relates the performance of the markets in that game to their constituent parts using reinforcement learning. Experiments show that the strongest mechanisms we found using this approach not only win the Market Design Game against known, strong opponents, but also exhibit desirable economic properties when they run in isolation.

Additional Information


  AUTHOR =       "Jinzhong Niu and Kai Cai and Simon Parsons",
  TITLE =        "A Grey-Box Approach to Automated Mechanism Design",
  BOOKTITLE =    amec10,
  YEAR =         "2010",
  ADDRESS =      toronto,
  wwwnote = "Extended version of the AAMAS'10 paper.",
  abstract = niu-aamas10-greybox-abstract,

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