Published Date: 2018-02-08
Registration: ISSN 2374-3468 (Online) ISSN 2159-5399 (Print)
Copyright: Published by AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA Copyright © 2018, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence All Rights Reserved.
Apart from the principles and methodologies inherited from Economics and Game Theory, the studies in Algorithmic Mechanism Design typically employ the worst-case analysis and approximation schemes of Theoretical Computer Science. For instance, the approximation ratio, which is the canonical measure of evaluating how well an incentive-compatible mechanism approximately optimizes the objective, is defined in the worst-case sense. It compares the performance of the optimal mechanism against the performance of a truthful mechanism, for all possible inputs. In this paper, we take the average-case analysis approach, and tackle one of the primary motivating problems in Algorithmic Mechanism Design -- the scheduling problem [Nisan and Ronen 1999]. One version of this problem which includes a verification component is studied by [Koutsoupias 2014]. It was shown that the problem has a tight approximation ratio bound of (n+1)/2 for the single-task setting, where n is the number of machines. We show, however, when the costs of the machines to executing the task follow any independent and identical distribution, the average-case approximation ratio of the mechanism given in [Koutsoupias 2014] is upper bounded by a constant. This positive result asymptotically separates the average-case ratio from the worst-case ratio, and indicates that the optimal mechanism for the problem actually works well on average, although in the worst-case the expected cost of the mechanism is Theta(n) times that of the optimal cost.