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[Dissertation Talk] The Complexity of Optimal Auction Design
Seminar: Departmental | April 22 | 2-3 p.m. | 373 Soda Hall
Georgios Pierrakos, EECS
This dissertation provides a complexity-theoretic critique of Myerson's theorem, one of Mechanism Design's crown jewels. This theorem gives a remarkably crisp solution to the problem faced by a monopolist wishing to sell a single item to a number of interested, rational bidders, whose valuations for the item are distributed independently according to some given distributions. The monopolist's goal is to design an auction that will maximize her expected revenue, while at the same time incentivizing the bidders to bid their true value for the item. Myerson solves this through a reduction to the problem of designing the social welfare-maximizing auction (i.e. allocating the item to the bidder who values it the most). This latter problem is well understood, and it admits a very simple solution, namely the Vickrey (or second-price) auction.
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