AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Automated Channel Abstraction for Advertising Auctions
William E. Walsh, Craig Boutilier, Tuomas Sandholm, Rob Shields, George Nemhauser, David C. Parkes

Last modified: 2010-07-04


The use of simple auction mechanisms like the GSP in online advertising can lead to significant loss of efficiency and revenue when advertisers have rich preferences — even simple forms of expressiveness like budget constraints can lead to suboptimal outcomes. While the optimal allocation of inventory can provide greater efficiency and revenue, natural formulations of the underlying optimization problems grow exponentially in the number of features of interest, presenting a key practical challenge. To address this problem, we propose a means for automatically partitioning inventory into abstract channels so that the least relevant features are ignored. Our approach, based on LP/MIP column and constraint generation, dramatically reduces the size of the problem, thus rendering optimization computationally feasible at practical scales. Our algorithms allow for principled tradeoffs between tractability and solution quality. Numerical experiments demonstrate the computational practicality of our approach as well as the quality of the resulting abstractions.

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