Sound Auction Specification and Implementation
28 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 10, 2015
We introduce 'formal methods' of mechanized reasoning from computer science to address two problems in auction design and practice: is a given auction design soundly specified, possessing its intended properties; and, is the design faithfully implemented when actually run? Failure on either front can be hugely costly in large auctions. In the familiar setting of the combinatorial Vickrey auction, we use a mechanized reasoner, Isabelle, to first ensure that the auction has a set of desired properties (e.g. allocating all items at non-negative prices), and to then generate verified executable code directly from the specified design. Having established the expected results in a known context, we intend next to use formal methods to verify new auction designs.
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