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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 215, 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)

The celebrated Bayesian persuasion model considers strategic communication between an informed agent (the sender) and uninformed decision makers (the receivers). The current rapidly-growing literature assumes a dichotomy: either the sender is powerful enough to communicate separately with each receiver (a.k.a. private persuasion), or she cannot communicate separately at all (a.k.a. public persuasion). We propose a model that smoothly interpolates between the two, by introducing a natural multi-channel communication structure in which each receiver observes a subset of the sender’s communication channels. This captures, e.g., receivers on a network, where information spillover is almost inevitable.
Our main result is a complete characterization specifying when one communication structure is better for the sender than another, in the sense of yielding higher optimal expected utility universally over all prior distributions and utility functions. The characterization is based on a simple pairwise relation among receivers - one receiver information-dominates another if he observes at least the same channels. We prove that a communication structure M₁ is (weakly) better than M₂ if and only if every information-dominating pair of receivers in M₁ is also such in M₂. This result holds in the most general model of Bayesian persuasion in which receivers may have externalities - that is, the receivers' actions affect each other. The proof is cryptographic-inspired and it has a close conceptual connection to secret sharing protocols.
As a surprising consequence of the main result, the sender can implement private Bayesian persuasion (which is the best communication structure for the sender) for k receivers using only O(log k) communication channels, rather than k channels in the naive implementation. We provide an implementation that matches the information-theoretical lower bound on the number of channels - not only asymptotically, but exactly. Moreover, the main result immediately implies some results of [Kerman and Tenev, 2021] on persuading receivers arranged in a network such that each receiver observes both the signals sent to him and to his neighbours in the network.
We further provide an additive FPTAS for an optimal sender’s signaling scheme when the number of states of nature is constant, the sender has an additive utility function and the graph of the information-dominating pairs of receivers is a directed forest. We focus on a constant number of states, as even for the special case of public persuasion and additive sender’s utility, it was shown by [Shaddin Dughmi and Haifeng Xu, 2017] that one can achieve neither an additive PTAS nor a polynomial-time constant-factor optimal sender’s utility approximation (unless P=NP). We leave for future research studying exact tractability of forest communication structures, as well as generalizing our result to more families of sender’s utility functions and communication structures.
Finally, we prove that finding an optimal signaling scheme under multi-channel persuasion is computationally hard for a general family of sender’s utility functions - separable supermajority functions, which are specified by choosing a partition of the set of receivers and summing supermajority functions corresponding to different elements of the partition, multiplied by some non-negative constants. Note that one can easily deduce from [Emir Kamenica and Matthew Gentzkow, 2011] and [Itai Arieli and Yakov Babichenko, 2019] that finding an optimal signaling scheme for such utility functions is computationally tractable for both public and private persuasion. This difference illustrates both the conceptual and the computational hardness of general multi-channel persuasion.

Yakov Babichenko, Inbal Talgam-Cohen, Haifeng Xu, and Konstantin Zabarnyi. Multi-Channel Bayesian Persuasion. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 11:1-11:2, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{babichenko_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11, author = {Babichenko, Yakov and Talgam-Cohen, Inbal and Xu, Haifeng and Zabarnyi, Konstantin}, title = {{Multi-Channel Bayesian Persuasion}}, booktitle = {13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)}, pages = {11:1--11:2}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-217-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {215}, editor = {Braverman, Mark}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-156072}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.11}, annote = {Keywords: Algorithmic game theory, Bayesian persuasion, Private Bayesian persuasion, Public Bayesian persuasion, Secret sharing, Networks} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 81, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017)

Computational and economic results suggest that social welfare maximization and combinatorial auction design are much easier when bidders' valuations satisfy the "gross substitutes" condition. The goal of this paper is to evaluate rigorously the folklore belief that the main take-aways from these results remain valid in settings where the gross substitutes condition holds only approximately. We show that for valuations that pointwise approximate a gross substitutes valuation (in fact even a linear valuation), optimal social welfare cannot be approximated to within a subpolynomial factor and demand oracles cannot be simulated using a subexponential number of value queries. We then provide several positive results by imposing additional structure on the valuations (beyond gross substitutes), using a more stringent notion of approximation, and/or using more powerful oracle access to the valuations. For example, we prove that the performance of the greedy algorithm degrades gracefully for near-linear valuations with approximately decreasing marginal values; that with demand queries, approximate welfare guarantees for XOS valuations degrade gracefully for valuations that are pointwise close to XOS; and that the performance of the Kelso-Crawford auction degrades gracefully for valuations that are close to various subclasses of gross substitutes valuations.

Tim Roughgarden, Inbal Talgam-Cohen, and Jan Vondrák. When Are Welfare Guarantees Robust?. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 81, pp. 22:1-22:23, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{roughgarden_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.22, author = {Roughgarden, Tim and Talgam-Cohen, Inbal and Vondr\'{a}k, Jan}, title = {{When Are Welfare Guarantees Robust?}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2017)}, pages = {22:1--22:23}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-044-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {81}, editor = {Jansen, Klaus and Rolim, Jos\'{e} D. P. and Williamson, David P. and Vempala, Santosh S.}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.22}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-75714}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2017.22}, annote = {Keywords: Valuation (set) functions, gross substitutes, linearity, approximation} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 60, Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2016)

The following paradigm is often used for handling NP-hard combinatorial optimization problems. One first formulates the problem as an integer program, then one relaxes it to a linear program (LP, or more generally, a convex program), then one solves the LP relaxation in polynomial time, and finally one rounds the optimal LP solution, obtaining a feasible solution to the original problem. Many of the commonly used rounding schemes (such as randomized rounding, threshold rounding and others) are "oblivious" in the sense that the rounding is performed based on the LP solution alone, disregarding the objective function. The goal of our work is to better understand in which cases oblivious rounding suffices in order to obtain approximation ratios that match the integrality gap of the underlying LP. Our study is information theoretic - the rounding is restricted to be oblivious but not restricted to run in polynomial time. In this information theoretic setting we characterize the approximation ratio achievable by oblivious rounding. It turns out to equal the integrality gap of the underlying LP on a problem that is the closure of the original combinatorial optimization problem. We apply our findings to the study of the approximation ratios obtainable by oblivious rounding for the maximum welfare problem, showing that when valuation functions are submodular oblivious rounding can match the integrality gap of the configuration LP (though we do not know what this integrality gap is), but when valuation functions are gross substitutes oblivious rounding cannot match the integrality gap (which is 1).

Uriel Feige, Michal Feldman, and Inbal Talgam-Cohen. Oblivious Rounding and the Integrality Gap. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 60, pp. 8:1-8:23, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{feige_et_al:LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2016.8, author = {Feige, Uriel and Feldman, Michal and Talgam-Cohen, Inbal}, title = {{Oblivious Rounding and the Integrality Gap}}, booktitle = {Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2016)}, pages = {8:1--8:23}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-018-7}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {60}, editor = {Jansen, Klaus and Mathieu, Claire and Rolim, Jos\'{e} D. P. and Umans, Chris}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2016.8}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-66319}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2016.8}, annote = {Keywords: Welfare-maximization} }

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