Multi-armed bandits problem has been widely utilized in economy-related areas. Incentives are explored in the sharing economy to inspire users for better resource allocation. Previous works build a budget-feasible incentive mechanism to learn users’ cost distribution. However, they only consider a special case that all tasks are considered as the same. The general problem asks for finding a solution when the cost for different tasks varies. In this paper, we investigate this problem by considering a system with k levels of difficulty. We present two incentivizing strategies for offline and online implementation, and formally derive the ratio of utility between them in different scenarios. We propose a regret-minimizing mechanism to decide incentives by dynamically adjusting budget assignment and learning from users’ cost distributions. We further extend the problem to a more generalized k-MAB problem by removing the contextual information of difficulties. CUE-UCB algorithm is proposed to address the online advertisement problem for multi-platforms. Our experiment demonstrates utility improvement about 7 times and time saving of 54% to meet a utility objective compared to the previous works in sharing economy, and up to 175% increment of utility for online advertising.
Recommended citation: Pengzhan Zhou, Xin Wei, Cong Wang, Yuanyuan Yang. “k-Level Truthful Incentivizing Mechanism and Generalized k-MAB Problem.” IEEE Transactions on Computers (TC), 2021.