Design and Implementation of fauxBay: Test-Bed for Bidding Agents in Online Auction Markets.

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Title: Design and Implementation of fauxBay: Test-Bed for Bidding Agents in Online Auction Markets.
Author: Singh, Ratna
Advisors: Dr. Peter R. Wurman, Committee Chair
Dr. Laurie Williams, Committee Member
Dr. R. Michael Young, Committee Member
Abstract: Online auctions provide a very competitive market for a variety of goods and services and have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. The increasing participation of buyers and sellers in these auctions has triggered the development of software bidding agents. These agents are automated agents that are designed to place bids on behalf of the user. In recent years, simulation of online auction markets has become a major research area in the field of electronic commerce. This is because testing different bidding strategies in a real auction environment involves risks and can result in heavy losses. Moreover, testing in a real life auction involves substantial amount of time and participation, in order to derive a definite conclusion about the bidding agent's performance. We propose to solve this problem by designing and implementing a tool for simulating online auction markets. Our simulation tool called fauxBay can be configured to develop test scenarios for testing bidding agent strategies. Currently, fauxBay supports the reserve price auction mechanism found on eBay. However, support for other auction mechanisms can be easily integrated with fauxBay in the future. We have designed fauxBay to offer two modes of simulating auction environments for testing bidding strategies: event-based and clock-based. Event-based simulation is used to obtain a quicker analysis of the bidding agent's performance, by moving forward to each event rather than moving linearly by the clock. In contrast, the clock-based simulation offers to test and gauge a bidding agent's performance in an auction environment where time moves linearly by the clock similar to real life online auctions. A key characteristic of fauxBay is that it tests bidding agent's strategies against real eBay data on completed auctions. Therefore, the results obtained by testing bidding strategy in fauxBay give a better insight into its anticipated performance in a real life online auction. Overall, fauxBay is designed to be extensible, configurable and give close to realistic results on the performance of bidding agents.
Date: 2006-04-26
Degree: MS
Discipline: Computer Science

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