Online Allocation and Learning in the Presence of Strategic Agents

Steven Yin, Shipra Agrawal, Assaf Zeevi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

We study the problem of allocating T sequentially arriving items among n homogeneous agents under the constraint that each agent must receive a pre-specified fraction of all items, with the objective of maximizing the agents' total valuation of items allocated to them. The agents' valuations for the item in each round are assumed to be i.i.d. but their distribution is a priori unknown to the central planner. Therefore, the central planner needs to implicitly learn these distributions from the observed values in order to pick a good allocation policy. However, an added challenge here is that the agents are strategic with incentives to misreport their valuations in order to receive better allocations. This sets our work apart both from the online auction design settings which typically assume known valuation distributions and/or involve payments, and from the online learning settings that do not consider strategic agents. To that end, our main contribution is an online learning based allocation mechanism that is approximately Bayesian incentive compatible, and when all agents are truthful, guarantees a sublinear regret for individual agents' utility compared to that under the optimal offline allocation policy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 - 36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
EditorsS. Koyejo, S. Mohamed, A. Agarwal, D. Belgrave, K. Cho, A. Oh
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
ISBN (Electronic)9781713871088
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 28 Nov 20229 Dec 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume35
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period28/11/229/12/22

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