Technion
 
         Computer Science Colloquium
 
    02/01/2011
 
Time+Place : Sunday 02/01/2011 14:30 room 337-8 Taub  Bld.
Speaker    : Yoram Bachrach
Affiliation: Microsoft Research Cambridge
Host       : Johann Makowsky
Title      : Conspiracies, Cooperation and Power
 
Abstract   :
 
Cooperative game theory is all about how selfish agents might agree to
collaborate and then share their spoils. It allows answering questions such
as:
- Would the political power balance change if a big party decided to split
into two smaller parties?
- Can selfish behavior jeopardize making mutually beneficial agreements?
- How might pirates share a hidden treasure when they need each other to
find it?
 
Cooperation can be problematic when agents collaborate to attack an economic
or political system. For example, agents participating in an auction can
coordinate their bids in order to pay less for obtaining their items and
political parties may strategically merge or split to increase their
influence. This talk examines computational aspects of such phenomena,
focusing on collusion in auctions and attacks in decision making bodies.
 
In weighted voting games, a known model for decision-making bodies,
false-name attacks where agents merge and split can dramatically influence
the distribution of power. Similarly, auctions based on the VCG mechanism
are excellent in achieving truthful bids and an optimal allocation when
agents do not cooperate, but are very susceptible to collusion. I will
demonstrate such attacks in political systems and multi-unit or path
procurement auctions, showing how the colluders can find their optimal joint
attack strategies and reasonable agreements for sharing the gains.
 
The analysis for both domains is based on the core and the Shapley value,
prominent solution concepts from cooperative game theory.
 
Short Bio:
Yoram Bachrach is a post-doc researcher in Microsoft Research Cambridge,
working on computational game theory, auctions and artificial intelligence
in the Online Services and Advertising team of the Machine Learning and
Perception group. Prior to that, Yoram has been a Ph.D student in the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, working on Multi-Agent Systems and Artificial
Intelligence in Jeff Rosenschein's group.
 
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