PhD position at EURECOM on “Robust pricing of cloud resources through mean-field games”

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PhD position at EURECOM on “Robust pricing of cloud resources through mean-field games”

Please find below the description of an open PhD position at EURECOM in computer science/applied mathematics, in the area of game theory and network economics.

**** Title:
Robust pricing of cloud resources through mean-field games

**** Keywords:
Game theory; network economics; pricing; cloud computing; mean-field games

**** Descritption:

Cloud computing has now become the main paradigm for computing, storage and many other applications, for both companies and individuals. An appropriate pricing schemes for cloud resources is therefore of great importance for cloud providers to maximize their revenue. Currently, cloud providers mostly use a fixed usage-based pricing, sometimes in association with a spot market to sell remaining resources through auctions. However, preliminary studies have shown that this pricing scheme may not be optimal [1]. This leaves open the crucial question of how to optimally price cloud resources.

One of the main difficulties in designing a good pricing scheme is that optimizing the scheme’s parameters generally requires knowledge of the variation of user demand with prices. Such information is very hard to estimate. Therefore, a key aspect of the designed pricing scheme considered in this PhD will be its robustness to mis-estimation of the users reaction to prices. To design a robust pricing scheme, a possible source of inspiration will be the concept of probabilistic pricing, recently proposed in [2,3], which was shown to exhibit interesting robustness properties in a different context.

The overall goal of the PhD work will be to design a good pricing mechanism for cloud resources and to analytically assess its performance using a game-theoretic model. The student will elaborate a model using the mean-field game method [4,5], which leverages the large number of users to simplify the analysis. He/she will study the performance of the designed pricing scheme (and compare it to other schemes) under various scenarios: in stationary situation, with external dynamics, with iterative learning algorithms, etc. Although the main case study will be cloud computing, the PhD work is expected to bring general results on the design of robust pricing schemes for a shared resource in a dynamic environment with many users.

Opportunities of collaboration with Supélec may be available during the PhD.

[1] “Fixed and Market Pricing for Cloud Services”, V. Abhishek, I. A. Kash and P. Key, in Proceedings of Netecon ’12.
[2] “Incentive Schemes for Internet Congestion Management: Raffles versus Time-of-Day Pricing”, P. Loiseau, G. Schwartz, J. Musacchio and S. Amin, in Proceedings of Allerton ’11
[3] “Congestion Pricing Using a Raffle-Based Scheme”, P. Loiseau, G. Schwartz, J. Musacchio, S. Amin, S. S. Sastry, in Proceedings of Netgcoop ’11
[4] “Mean field games”, J.-M. Lasry, P.-L. Lions, Jpn. J. Math. 2(1), 229–260 (2007).
[5] “Mean field stochastic games”, H. Tembine, tutorial given at Supélec, 2012. Short version available as arXiv:1111.2285.

**** Candidate profile:

– The candidate should hold (or be about to obtain) a Master degree (or equivalent), in applied mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering or a related field.
– The successful candidate should have a good mathematical background in probability/stochastic processes, optimization and/or game theory; and a strong interest in doing theoretical work in these areas.
– Knowledge in one or several of the following areas would be a plus: network economics, cloud computing, advanced probability, asymptotic analysis (e.g., mean-field).

**** Practical information:

– The position is funded by a “Futur&Ruptures” grant from Institut-Mines Telecom.
– The successful candidate will work as a PhD student in the “Networking and Security” department of EURECOM, under supervision of Prof. Patrick Loiseau. He/She will be affiliated with the EDITE doctoral school.
– The working language is English (knowledge of French is not required).
– Starting date: Fall 2012 — Duration: 3 years.
– Competitive salary and benefits packages (including medical insurance) are offered for the duration of the PhD.

**** Application procedure:

To apply or to obtain any further information, please contact directly Prof. Patrick Loiseau (patrick.loiseau@eurecom.fr). Your application email should include:
– A short motivation statement explaining why you would like to do a PhD and your relevant past experience (e.g., projects or internships on topics related to the PhD).
– A detailed CV and a complete transcript record of master grades (preferably include transcript record of bachelor/undergraduate grades too).
– The name of two persons (preferably professors or researchers with whom you have interacted) who are willing to provide a reference letter for your application.

The position is open until filled. To ensure full consideration of the application, interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

See http://www.eurecom.fr/~loiseau/open_positions.html for more information and for a PDF version.

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