uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Combinatorial and Simultaneous Auction: A Pragmatic Approach to Tighter Bounds on Expected Revenue
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computing Science.
2009 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is a common belief that combinatorial auctions provide good solutions to resource-allocation in multiple-object markets with synergies. In this work we adopt a pragmatic approach to examining the revenue bounds on combinatorial and simultaneous auctions. The theoretical bounds from our previous work utilize a large number of bidders in order to show that combinatorial auctions yield a higher expected revenue. It is reasonable to believe that the true bounds are much tighter. We argue that this is the indeed the case and that the first-price combinatorial auction is revenue superior even when a relatively small number of bidders participate. The argument is based on three methods. (i) heuristic equilibrium-strategy search, (ii) sampling of the expected revenue in the first-price sealed-bid combinatorial auction, and (iii) a tightened theoretical upper bound on the sealed-bid simultaneous auction in the case of few bidders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Technical report / Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University, ISSN 1404-3203 ; 2009-013
Keyword [en]
combinatorial auction, first-price, heuristic, equilibrium, strategy, expected revenue, multi-object auction, auction, multiple-item, simulatneous auction, bidding, synergy, synergies
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-102933OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-102933DiVA: diva2:217100
Available from: 2009-05-13 Created: 2009-05-13 Last updated: 2009-11-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bidding in Combinatorial Auctions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bidding in Combinatorial Auctions
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the interdisciplinary field of combinatorial auctions, combining the fields of computer science, optimization and economics. A combinatorial auction is an auction where many items are sold simultaneously and where bidders may submit indivisible combinatorial bids on groups of items. It is commonly believed that good solutions to the allocation problem can be achieved by allowing combinatorial bidding.

Determining who wins in a combinatorial auction is fundamentally different from a traditional single-item auction because we are faced with a hard and potentially intractable optimization problem. Also, unless we are limited to truthful mechanisms, game theoretic analysis of the strategic behavior of bidders is still an open problem.

We have chosen primarily to study the first-price combinatorial auction, a natural auction widely used in practice. Theoretical analysis of this type of auction is difficult and little has been done previously. In this thesis we investigate and discuss three fundamental questions with significant practical implications for combinatorial auctions.

First, because the number of possible bids grows exponentially with the number of items, limitations on the number of bids are typically required. This gives rise to a problem since bidders are unlikely to choose the "correct" bids that make up the globally optimal solution. We provide evidence that an expressive and compact bidding language can be more important than finding the optimal solution. Second, given a first-price (sealed-bid) combinatorial auction, the question of equilibrium bidding strategies remains an open problem. We propose a heuristic for finding such strategies and also present feasible strategies. And finally, is a first-price combinatorial auction worth pursuing compared to the simpler simultaneous (single-item) auction? We prove, through a model capturing many fundamental properties of multiple items scenarios with synergies, that the first-price combinatorial auction produces higher revenue than simultaneous single-item auctions. We provide bounds on revenue, given a significantly more general model, in contrast to previous work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2009. 143 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 656
combinatorial auction, multiple-object, first-price, sealed-bid, game theory, multiple items, simultaneous auction, integer programming, equilibrium, strategy, reveue
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-102960 (URN)978-91-554-7554-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-09-18, Room 2446, Polacksbacken, Lägerhyddsvägen 2D, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-06-11 Created: 2009-05-13 Last updated: 2011-02-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links


Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Wilenius, Jim
By organisation
Computing Science
Computer Science

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 223 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link