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# Empirical Mechanism Design: Designing Mechanisms from Data

*Proceedings of The 35th Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence Conference*, PMLR 115:1094-1104, 2020.

#### Abstract

We introduce a methodology for the design of parametric mechanisms, which are multiagent systems inhabited by strategic agents, with knobs that can be adjusted to achieve specific goals. We assume agents play approximate equilibria, which we estimate using the probably approximately correct learning framework. Under this assumption, we further learn approximately optimal mechanism parameters. We do this theoretically, assuming a finite design space, and heuristically, using Bayesian optimization (BO). Our BO algorithm incorporates the noise associated with modern concentration inequalities, such as Hoeffding’s, into the underlying Gaussian process. We show experimentally that our search techniques outperform standard baselines in a stylized but rich model of advertisement exchanges.