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[theory-seminar] Theory Lunch 9/15: Kira Goldner on The FedEx Problem

Ofir Geri ofirgeri at
Tue Sep 13 14:14:59 PDT 2016

Hi all,

This week at theory lunch we are going to have a talk by Kira Goldner about The FedEx Problem.

Lunch is at 12:15, the talk starts at 12:30.

Hoping to see you there!

Title: The FedEx Problem
Speaker: Kira Goldner, University of Washington

Consider the following setting: a customer has a package and is willing to pay up to some value v to ship it, but needs it to be shipped by some deadline d. The customer is indifferent if the package is shipped early. Given the joint prior distribution from which (v, d) pairs are drawn, we characterize the auction that yields optimal revenue, contributing to the very limited understanding of optimal auctions beyond the single-parameter setting. Our work also demonstrates the importance of 'ironing' (and concavity) in revenue maximization, helping to illustrate why randomization is necessary to achieve optimal revenue. Finally, we strengthen the emerging understanding that duality is useful for both the design and analysis of optimal auctions in multi-parameter settings.

Joint work with Amos Fiat, Anna Karlin, and Elias Koutsoupias.
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