ARC Colloquium: Brendan Lucier (Microsoft Research)

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Algorithms & Randomness Center (ARC)

Brendan Lucier – Microsoft Research

Monday, October 3, 2016

Klaus 1116 East - 11:00 am

Prices, Auctions, and Combinatorial Prophet Inequalities

The most common way to sell resources, from apples to business licenses to concert tickets, is to post prices. A choice of prices can be viewed as an algorithm for an online stochastic optimization problem, which makes decisions using value thresholds. This connection provides an opportunity to use the famous prophet inequality -- which describes the power of threshold rules -- to study pricing problems, and vice-versa. In this talk I'll present a general framework for deriving new prophet inequalities using economic insights from pricing, with algorithmic applications. Along the way, I'll describe an unexpected connection between posted prices and equilibria of non-truthful auctions.

Based on joint works with Paul Duetting, Michal Feldman, Nick Gravin, and Thomas Kesselheim.

Brendan Lucier is a Researcher at Microsoft Research, New England. Prior to joining Microsoft, he received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. His research interests lie in the intersection of theoretical Computer Science and Economics, and include algorithmic market design, algorithmic pricing, and social processes on networks. He is especially interested in the tradeoffs between simplicity, robustness, and optimality in markets for complex goods and services.

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Fall 2016 ARC Seminar Schedule

Event Details


  • Monday, October 3, 2016
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Klaus 1116 East

For More Information Contact

Dani Denton