Simple and Efficient Budget Feasible Mechanisms for Monotone Submodular Valuations
We study the problem of a budget limited buyer who wants to buy a set of items, each from a different seller, to maximize her value. The budget feasible mechanism design problem requires the design a mechanism which incentivizes the sellers to truthfully report their cost and maximizes the buyer’s value while guaranteeing that the total payment does not exceed her budget. Such budget feasible mechanisms can model a buyer in a crowdsourcing market interested in recruiting a set of workers (sellers) to accomplish a task for her.
This budget feasible mechanism design problem was introduced by Singer in 2010. We consider the general case where the buyer’s valuation is a monotone submodular function. There are a number of truthful mechanisms known for this problem. We offer two general frameworks for simple mechanisms, and by combining these frameworks, we significantly improve on the best known results, while also simplifying the analysis. For example, we improve the approximation guarantee for the general monotone submodular case from 7.91 to 5; and for the case of large markets (where each individual item has negligible value) from 3 to 2.58. More generally, given an r approximation algorithm for the optimization problem (ignoring incentives), our mechanism is a \(r+1\) approximation mechanism for large markets, an improvement from \(2r^2\). We also provide a mechanism without the large market assumption, where we achieve a \(4r+1\) approximation guarantee. We also show how our results can be used for the problem of a principal hiring in a Crowdsourcing Market to select a set of tasks subject to a total budget.
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