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Nearly Optimal Pricing Algorithms for Production Constrained and Laminar Bayesian Selection

Nima Anari, Rad Niazadeh, Amin Saberi and Ali Shameli

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Abstract: We study online pricing algorithms for the Bayesian selection problem with production constraints and its generalization to the laminar matroid Bayesian online selection problem. Consider a firm producing (or receiving) multiple copies of different product types over time. The firm can offer the products to arriving buyers, where each buyer is interested in one product type and has a private valuation drawn independently from a possibly different but known distribution. Our goal is to find an adaptive pricing for serving the buyers that maximizes the expected social-welfare (or revenue) subject to two constraints. First, at any time the total number of sold items of each type is no more than the number of produced items. Second, the total number of sold items does not exceed the total shipping capacity. This problem is a special case of the well-known matroid Bayesian online selection problem studied in [Kleinberg and Weinberg, 2012], when the underlying matroid is laminar. We give the first Polynomial-Time Approximation Scheme (PTAS) for the above problem as well as its generalization to the laminar matroid Bayesian online selection problem when the depth of the laminar family is bounded by a constant. Our approach is based on rounding the solution of a hierarchy of linear programming relaxations that systematically strengthen the commonly used ex-ante linear programming formulation of these problems and approximate the optimum online solution with any degree of accuracy. Our rounding algorithm respects the relaxed constraints of higher-levels of the laminar tree only in expectation, and exploits the negative dependency of the selection rule of lower-levels to achieve the required concentration that guarantees the feasibility with high probability.

Date: 2018-07
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