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Machine Learning Approaches to Automated Mechanism Design for Public Project Problem

by   Guanhua Wang, et al.

Mechanism design is a central research branch in microeconomics. An effective mechanism can significantly improve performance and efficiency of social decisions under desired objectives, such as to maximize social welfare or to maximize revenue for agents. However, mechanism design is challenging for many common models including the public project problem model which we study in this thesis. A typical public project problem is a group of agents crowdfunding a public project (e.g., building a bridge). The mechanism will decide the payment and allocation for each agent (e.g., how much the agent pays, and whether the agent can use it) according to their valuations. The mechanism can be applied to various economic scenarios, including those related to cyber security. There are different constraints and optimized objectives for different public project scenarios (sub-problems), making it unrealistic to design a universal mechanism that fits all scenarios, and designing mechanisms for different settings manually is a taxing job. Therefore, we explore automated mechanism design (AMD) of public project problems under different constraints. In this thesis, we focus on the public project problem, which includes many sub-problems (excludable/non-excludable, divisible/indivisible, binary/non-binary). We study the classical public project model and extend this model to other related areas such as the zero-day exploit markets. For different sub-problems of the public project problem, we adopt different novel machine learning techniques to design optimal or near-optimal mechanisms via automated mechanism design. We evaluate our mechanisms by theoretical analysis or experimentally comparing our mechanisms against existing mechanisms. The experiments and theoretical results show that our mechanisms are better than state-of-the-art automated or manual mechanisms.


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