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We study an information design problem with two informed senders and a receiver in which, in contrast to traditional Bayesian persuasion settings, senders do not have commitment power. In our setting, a trusted mediator/platform gathers data from the senders and recommends the receiver which action to play. We characterize the set of feasible action distributions that can be obtained in equilibrium, and provide an O(n log n) algorithm (where n is the number of states) that computes the optimal equilibrium for the senders. Additionally, we show that the optimal equilibrium for the receiver can be obtained by a simple revelation mechanism.

Two-player zero-sum "graph games" are central in logic, verification, and multi-agent systems. The game proceeds by placing a token on a vertex of a graph, and allowing the players to move it to produce an infinite path, which determines the winner or payoff of the game. Traditionally, the players alternate turns in moving the token. In "bidding games", however, the players have budgets and in each turn, an auction (bidding) determines which player moves the token. So far, bidding games have only been studied as full-information games. In this work we initiate the study of partial-information bidding games: we study bidding games in which a player's initial budget is drawn from a known probability distribution. We show that while for some bidding mechanisms and objectives, it is straightforward to adapt the results from the full-information setting to the partial-information setting, for others, the analysis is significantly more challenging, requires new techniques, and gives rise to interesting results. Specifically, we study games with "mean-payoff" objectives in combination with "poorman" bidding. We construct optimal strategies for a partially-informed player who plays against a fully-informed adversary. We show that, somewhat surprisingly, the "value" under pure strategies does not necessarily exist in such games.

We study a fair allocation problem of indivisible items under additive externalities in which each agent also receives utility from items that are assigned to other agents. This allows us to capture scenarios in which agents benefit from or compete against one another. We extend the well-studied properties of envy-freeness up to one item (EF1) and envy-freeness up to any item (EFX) to this setting, and we propose a new fairness concept called general fair share (GFS), which applies to a more general public decision making model. We undertake a detailed study and present algorithms for finding fair allocations.

We study the fair allocation of indivisible goods among agents with identical, additive valuations but individual budget constraints. Here, the indivisible goods--each with a specific size and value--need to be allocated such that the bundle assigned to each agent is of total size at most the agent's budget. Since envy-free allocations do not necessarily exist in the indivisible goods context, compelling relaxations--in particular, the notion of envy-freeness up to k goods (EFk)--have received significant attention in recent years. In an EFk allocation, each agent prefers its own bundle over that of any other agent, up to the removal of k goods, and the agents have similarly bounded envy against the charity (which corresponds to the set of all unallocated goods). It has been shown in prior work that an allocation that satisfies the budget constraints and maximizes the Nash social welfare is 1/4-approximately EF1. However, the computation (or even existence) of exact EFk allocations remained an intriguing open problem. We make notable progress towards this by proposing a simple, greedy, polynomial-time algorithm that computes EF2 allocations under budget constraints. Our algorithmic result implies the universal existence of EF2 allocations in this fair division context. The analysis of the algorithm exploits intricate structural properties of envy-freeness. Interestingly, the same algorithm also provides EF1 guarantees for important special cases. Specifically, we settle the existence of EF1 allocations for instances in which: (i) the value of each good is proportional to its size, (ii) all the goods have the same size, or (iii) all the goods have the same value. Our EF2 result even extends to the setting wherein the goods' sizes are agent specific.

Citizens’ assemblies are groups of randomly selected constituents who are tasked with providing recommendations on policy questions. Assembly members form their recommendations through a sequence of discussions in small groups (deliberation), in which group members exchange arguments and experiences. We seek to support this process through optimization, by studying how to assign participants to discussion groups over multiple sessions, in a way that maximizes interaction between participants and satisfies diversity constraints within each group. Since repeated meetings between a given pair of participants have diminishing marginal returns, we capture interaction through a submodular function, which is approximately optimized by a greedy algorithm making calls to an ILP solver. This framework supports different submodular objective functions, and we identify sensible options, but we also show it is not necessary to commit to a particular choice: Our main theoretical result is a (practically efficient) algorithm that simultaneously approximates every possible objective function of the form we are interested in. Experiments with data from real citizens' assemblies demonstrate that our approach substantially outperforms the heuristic algorithm currently used by practitioners.

We study the formation of stable outcomes via simple dynamics in cardinal hedonic games, where the utilities of agents change over time depending on the history of the coalition formation process. Specifically, we analyze situations where members of a coalition decrease their utility for a leaving agent (resent) or increase their utility for a joining agent (appreciation). We show that in contrast to classical dynamics, for resentful or appreciative agents, dynamics are guaranteed to converge under mild conditions for various stability concepts. Thereby, we establish that both resent and appreciation are strong stability-driving forces.

We study the properties of elections that have a given position matrix (in such elections each candidate is ranked on each position by a number of voters specified in the matrix). We show that counting elections that generate a given position matrix is #P-complete. Consequently, sampling such elections uniformly at random seems challenging and we propose a simpler algorithm, without hard guarantees. Next, we consider the problem of testing if a given matrix can be implemented by an election with a certain structure (such as single-peakedness or group-separability). Finally, we consider the problem of checking if a given position matrix can be implemented by an election with a Condorcet winner. We complement our theoretical findings with experiments.

To aggregate rankings into a social ranking, one can use scoring systems such as Plurality, Veto, and Borda. We distinguish three types of methods: ranking by score, ranking by repeatedly choosing a winner that we delete and rank at the top, and ranking by repeatedly choosing a loser that we delete and rank at the bottom. The latter method captures the frequently studied voting rules Single Transferable Vote (aka Instant Runoff Voting), Coombs, and Baldwin. In an experimental analysis, we show that the three types of methods produce different rankings in practice. We also provide evidence that sequentially selecting winners is most suitable to detect the "true" ranking of candidates. For different rules in our classes, we then study the (parameterized) computational complexity of deciding in which positions a given candidate can appear in the chosen ranking. As part of our analysis, we also consider the Winner Determination problem for STV, Coombs, and Baldwin and determine their complexity when there are few voters or candidates.

The ability to measure the satisfaction of (groups of) voters is a crucial prerequisite for formulating proportionality axioms in approval-based participatory budgeting elections. Two common -- but very different -- ways to measure the satisfaction of a voter consider (i) the number of approved projects and (ii) the total cost of approved projects, respectively. In general, it is difficult to decide which measure of satisfaction best reflects the voters' true utilities. In this paper, we study proportionality axioms with respect to large classes of approval-based satisfaction functions. We establish logical implications among our axioms and related notions from the literature, and we ask whether outcomes can be achieved that are proportional with respect to more than one satisfaction function. We show that this is impossible for the two commonly used satisfaction functions when considering proportionality notions based on extended justified representation, but achievable for a notion based on proportional justified representation. For the latter result, we introduce a strengthening of priceability and show that it is satisfied by several polynomial-time computable rules, including the Method of Equal Shares and Phragmén's sequential rule.

Selecting a committee that meets diversity and proportionality criteria is a challenging endeavor that has been studied extensively in recent years. This task becomes even more challenging when some of the selected candidates decline the invitation to join the committee. Since the unavailability of one candidate may impact the rest of the selection, inviting all candidates at the same time may lead to a suboptimal committee. Instead, invitations should be sequential and conditional on which candidates invited so far accepted the invitation: the solution to the committee selection problem is a query policy. If invitation queries are binding, they should be safe: one should not query a candidate without being sure that whatever the set of available candidates possible at that stage, her inclusion will not jeopardize committee optimality. Assuming approval-based inputs, we characterize the set of rules for which a safe query exists at every stage. In order to parallelize the invitation process, we investigate the computation of safe parallel queries, and show that it is often hard. We also study the existence of safe parallel queries with respect to proportionality axioms such as extended justified representation.

We consider the fair division problem of indivisible items. It is well-known that an envy-free allocation may not exist, and a relaxed version of envy-freeness, envy-freeness up to one item (EF1), has been widely considered. In an EF1 allocation, an agent may envy others' allocated shares, but only up to one item. In many applications, we may wish to specify a subset of prioritized agents where strict envy-freeness needs to be guaranteed from these agents to the remaining agents, while ensuring the whole allocation is still EF1. Prioritized agents may be those agents who are envious in a previous EF1 allocation, those agents who belong to underrepresented groups, etc. Motivated by this, we propose a new fairness notion named envy-freeness with prioritized agents EFprior, and study the existence and the algorithmic aspects for the problem of computing an EFprior allocation. With additive valuations, the simple round-robin algorithm is able to compute an EFprior allocation. In this paper, we mainly focus on general valuations. In particular, we present a polynomial-time algorithm that outputs an EFprior allocation with most of the items allocated. When all the items need to be allocated, we also present polynomial-time algorithms for some well-motivated special cases.

We introduce a class of strategic games in which agents are assigned to nodes of a topology graph and the utility of an agent depends on both the agent's inherent utilities for other agents as well as her distance from these agents on the topology graph. This model of topological distance games (TDGs) offers an appealing combination of important aspects of several prominent settings in coalition formation, including (additively separable) hedonic games, social distance games, and Schelling games. We study the existence and complexity of stable outcomes in TDGs—for instance, while a jump stable assignment may not exist in general, we show that the existence is guaranteed in several special cases. We also investigate the dynamics induced by performing beneficial jumps.

In many applications, we want to influence the decisions of independent agents by designing incentives for their actions. We revisit a fundamental problem in this area, called GAME IMPLEMENTATION: Given a game in standard form and a set of desired strategies, can we design a set of payment promises such that if the players take the payment promises into account, then all undominated strategies are desired? Furthermore, we aim to minimize the cost, that is, the worst-case amount of payments. We study the tractability of computing such payment promises and determine more closely what obstructions we may have to overcome in doing so. We show that GAME IMPLEMENTATION is NP-hard even for two players, solving in particular a long-standing open question and suggesting more restrictions are necessary to obtain tractability results. We thus study the regime in which players have only a small constant number of strategies and obtain the following. First, this case remains NP-hard even if each player’s utility depends only on three others. Second, we repair a flawed efficient algorithm for the case of both small number of strategies and small number of players. Among further results, we characterize sets of desired strategies that can be implemented at zero cost as a generalization of Nash equilibria.

Developing a dynamical model for learning in games has attracted much recent interest. In stochastic games, agents need to make decisions in multiple states, and transitions between states, in turn, influence the dynamics of strategies. While previous works typically focus either on 2-agent stochastic games or on normal form games under an infinite-agent setting, we aim at formally modelling the learning dynamics in stochastic games under the infinite-agent setting. With a novel use of pair-approximation method, we develop a formal model for myopic Q-learning in stochastic games with symmetric state transition. We verify the descriptive power of our model (a partial differential equation) across various games through comparisons with agent-based simulation results. Based on our proposed model, we can gain qualitative and quantitative insights into the influence of transition probabilities on the dynamics of strategies. In particular, we illustrate that a careful design of transition probabilities can help players overcome the social dilemmas and promote cooperation, even if agents are myopic learners.

Hedonic games model cooperative games where agents desire to form coalitions, and only care about the composition of the coalitions of which they are members. Focusing on various classes of dichotomous hedonic games, where each agent either approves or disapproves a given coalition, we propose the random extension, where players have an independent participation probability. We initiate the research on the computational complexity of computing the probability that coalitions and partitions are optimal or stable. While some cases admit efficient algorithms (e.g., agents approve only few coalitions), they become computationally hard (#P-hard) in their complementary scenario. We then investigate the distribution of coalitions in perfect partitions and their performance in majority games, where an agent approves coalitions in which the agent is friends with the majority of its members. When friendships independently form with a constant probability, we prove that the number of coalitions of size 3 converges in distribution to a Poisson random variable.

Civic Crowdfunding (CC) uses the ``power of the crowd" to garner contributions towards public projects. As these projects are non-excludable, agents may prefer to ``free-ride," resulting in the project not being funded. Researchers introduce refunds for single project CC to incentivize agents to contribute, guaranteeing the project's funding. These funding guarantees are applicable only when agents have an unlimited budget. This paper focuses on a combinatorial setting, where multiple projects are available for CC and agents have a limited budget. We study specific conditions where funding can be guaranteed. Naturally, funding the optimal social welfare subset of projects is desirable when every available project cannot be funded due to budget restrictions. We prove the impossibility of achieving optimal welfare at equilibrium for any monotone refund scheme. Further, given the contributions of other agents, we prove that it is NP-Hard for an agent to determine its optimal strategy. That is, while profitable deviations may exist for agents instead of funding the optimal welfare subset, it is computationally hard for an agent to find its optimal deviation. Consequently, we study different heuristics agents can use to contribute to the projects in practice. We demonstrate the heuristics' performance as the average-case trade-off between the welfare obtained and an agent's utility through simulations.

In party-approval multiwinner elections the goal is to allocate the seats of a fixed-size committee to parties based on the approval ballots of the voters over the parties. In particular, each voter can approve multiple parties and each party can be assigned multiple seats. Two central requirements in this setting are proportional representation and strategyproofness. Intuitively, proportional representation requires that every sufficiently large group of voters with similar preferences is represented in the committee. Strategyproofness demands that no voter can benefit by misreporting her true preferences. We show that these two axioms are incompatible for anonymous party-approval multiwinner voting rules, thus proving a far-reaching impossibility theorem. The proof of this result is obtained by formulating the problem in propositional logic and then letting a SAT solver show that the formula is unsatisfiable. Additionally, we demonstrate how to circumvent this impossibility by considering a weakening of strategyproofness which requires that only voters who do not approve any elected party cannot manipulate. While most common voting rules fail even this weak notion of strategyproofness, we characterize Chamberlin-Courant approval voting within the class of Thiele rules based on this strategyproofness notion.

We provide a complete characterization for the computational complexity of finding approximate equilibria in two-action graphical games. We consider the two most well-studied approximation notions: ε-Nash equilibria (ε-NE) and ε-well-supported Nash equilibria (ε-WSNE), where ε is in [0,1]. We prove that computing an ε-NE is PPAD-complete for any constant ε smaller than 1/2, while a very simple algorithm (namely, letting all players mix uniformly between their two actions) yields a 1/2-NE. On the other hand, we show that computing an ε-WSNE is PPAD-complete for any constant ε smaller than 1, while a 1-WSNE is trivial to achieve, because any strategy profile is a 1-WSNE. All of our lower bounds immediately also apply to graphical games with more than two actions per player.

We study competition among contests in a general model that allows for an arbitrary and heterogeneous space of contest design and symmetric contestants. The goal of the contest designers is to maximize the contestants' sum of efforts. Our main result shows that optimal contests in the monopolistic setting (i.e., those that maximize the sum of efforts in a model with a single contest) form an equilibrium in the model with competition among contests. Under a very natural assumption these contests are in fact dominant, and the equilibria that they form are unique. Moreover, equilibria with the optimal contests are Pareto-optimal even in cases where other equilibria emerge. In many natural cases, they also maximize the social welfare.

The conditional commitment abilities of mutually transparent computer agents have been studied in previous work on commitment games and program equilibrium. This literature has shown how these abilities can help resolve Prisoner’s Dilemmas and other failures of cooperation in complete information settings. But inefficiencies due to private information have been neglected thus far in this literature, despite the fact that these problems are pervasive and might also be addressed by greater mutual transparency. In this work, we introduce a framework for commitment games with a new kind of conditional commitment device, which agents can use to conditionally disclose private information. We prove a folk theorem for this setting that provides sufficient conditions for ex post efficiency, and thus represents a model of ideal cooperation between agents without a third-party mediator. Further, extending previous work on program equilibrium, we develop an implementation of conditional information disclosure. We show that this implementation forms program ε-Bayesian Nash equilibria corresponding to the Bayesian Nash equilibria of these commitment games.

Online bipartite-matching platforms are ubiquitous and find applications in important areas such as crowdsourcing and ridesharing. In the most general form, the platform consists of three entities: two sides to be matched and a platform operator that decides the matching. The design of algorithms for such platforms has traditionally focused on the operator’s (expected) profit. Since fairness has become an important consideration that was ignored in the existing algorithms a collection of online matching algorithms have been developed that give a fair treatment guarantee for one side of the market at the expense of a drop in the operator’s profit. In this paper, we generalize the existing work to offer fair treatment guarantees to both sides of the market simultaneously, at a calculated worst case drop to operator profit. We consider group and individual Rawlsian fairness criteria. Moreover, our algorithms have theoretical guarantees and have adjustable parameters that can be tuned as desired to balance the trade-off between the utilities of the three sides. We also derive hardness results that give clear upper bounds over the performance of any algorithm.

Participatory budgeting engages the public in the process of allocating public money to different types of projects. PB designs differ in how voters are asked to express their preferences over candidate projects and how these preferences are aggregated to determine which projects to fund. This paper studies two fundamental questions in PB design. Which voting format and aggregation method to use, and how to evaluate the outcomes of these design decisions? We conduct an extensive empirical study in which 1 800 participants vote in four participatory budgeting elections in a controlled setting to evaluate the practical effects of the choice of voting format and aggregation rule.We find that k-approval leads to the best user experience. With respect to the aggregation rule, greedy aggregation leads to outcomes that are highly sensitive to the input format used and the fraction of the population that participates. The method of equal shares, in contrast, leads to outcomes that are not sensitive to the type of voting format used, and these outcomes are remarkably stable even when the majority of the population does not participate in the election. These results carry valuable insights for PB practitioners and social choice researchers.

We study PAC learnability and PAC stabilizability of Hedonic Games (HGs), i.e., efficiently inferring preferences or core-stable partitions from samples. We first expand the known learnability/stabilizability landscape for some of the most prominent HGs classes, providing results for Friends and Enemies Games, Bottom Responsive, and Anonymous HGs. Then, having a broader view in mind, we attempt to shed light on the structural properties leading to learnability/stabilizability, or lack thereof, for specific HGs classes. Along this path, we focus on the fully expressive Hedonic Coalition Nets representation of HGs. We identify two sets of conditions that lead to efficient learnability, and which encompass all of the known positive learnability results. On the side of stability, we reveal that, while the freedom of choosing an ad hoc adversarial distribution is the most obvious hurdle to achieving PAC stability, it is not the only one. First, we show a distribution independent necessary condition for PAC stability. Then, we focus on W-games, where players have individual preferences over other players and evaluate coalitions based on the least preferred member. We prove that these games are PAC stabilizable under the class of bounded distributions, which assign positive probability mass to all coalitions. Finally, we discuss why such a result is not easily extendable to other HGs classes even in this promising scenario. Namely, we establish a purely computational property necessary for achieving PAC stability.

Active Directory (AD) is the default security management system for Windows domain networks. An AD environment naturally describes an attack graph where nodes represent computers/accounts/security groups, and edges represent existing accesses/known exploits that allow the attacker to gain access from one node to another. Motivated by practical AD use cases, we study a Stackelberg game between one attacker and one defender. There are multiple entry nodes for the attacker to choose from and there is a single target (Domain Admin). Every edge has a failure rate. The attacker chooses the attack path with the maximum success rate. The defender can block a limited number of edges (i.e., revoke accesses) from a set of blockable edges, limited by budget. The defender's aim is to minimize the attacker's success rate. We exploit the tree-likeness of practical AD graphs to design scalable algorithms. We propose two novel methods that combine theoretical fixed parameter analysis and practical optimisation techniques. For graphs with small tree widths, we propose a tree decomposition based dynamic program. We then propose a general method for converting tree decomposition based dynamic programs to reinforcement learning environments, which leads to an anytime algorithm that scales better, but loses the optimality guarantee. For graphs with small numbers of non-splitting paths (a parameter we invent specifically for AD graphs), we propose a kernelization technique that significantly downsizes the model, which is then solved via mixed-integer programming. Experimentally, our algorithms scale to handle synthetic AD graphs with tens of thousands of nodes.

Platforms for online civic participation rely heavily on methods for condensing thousands of comments into a relevant handful, based on whether participants agree or disagree with them. These methods should guarantee fair representation of the participants, as their outcomes may affect the health of the conversation and inform impactful downstream decisions. To that end, we draw on the literature on approval-based committee elections. Our setting is novel in that the approval votes are incomplete since participants will typically not vote on all comments. We prove that this complication renders non-adaptive algorithms impractical in terms of the amount of information they must gather. Therefore, we develop an adaptive algorithm that uses information more efficiently by presenting incoming participants with statements that appear promising based on votes by previous participants. We prove that this method satisfies commonly used notions of fair representation, even when participants only vote on a small fraction of comments. Finally, an empirical evaluation using real data shows that the proposed algorithm provides representative outcomes in practice.