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Bicriteria Multidimensional Mechanism Design with Side Information

Siddharth Prasad · Maria-Florina Balcan · Tuomas Sandholm

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1700
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST


We develop a versatile new methodology for multidimensional mechanism design that incorporates side information about agent types to generate high social welfare and high revenue simultaneously. Prominent sources of side information in practice include predictions from a machine-learning model trained on historical agent data, advice from domain experts, and even the mechanism designer's own gut instinct. In this paper we adopt a prior-free perspective that makes no assumptions on the correctness, accuracy, or source of the side information. First, we design a meta-mechanism that integrates input side information with an improvement of the classical VCG mechanism. The welfare, revenue, and incentive properties of our meta-mechanism are characterized by novel constructions we introduce based on the notion of a weakest competitor, which is an agent that has the smallest impact on welfare. We show that our meta-mechanism, when carefully instantiated, simultaneously achieves strong welfare and revenue guarantees parameterized by errors in the side information. When the side information is highly informative and accurate, our mechanism achieves welfare and revenue competitive with the total social surplus, and its performance decays continuously and gradually as the quality of the side information decreases. Finally, we apply our meta-mechanism to a setting where each agent's type is determined by a constant number of parameters. Specifically, agent types lie on constant-dimensional subspaces (of the potentially high-dimensional ambient type space) that are known to the mechanism designer. We use our meta-mechanism to obtain the first known welfare and revenue guarantees in this setting.

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