Peer-to-Peer Tangible Goods Rental


Peer-to-peer rental diagram What are the best ways to share stuff? Real stuff, not just bits. This is an open research question, and in the age of the rise of collaborative consumption / the sharing economy, a relevant one.

Off-and-on since working with Bebarang two summers ago, I've been studying online mechanisms for the rental of tangible goods. This work has culminated in a publication at the Trading Agent Design and Analysis / Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce (TADA/AMEC) workshop being held in early June, 2012 alongside the Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems (AAMAS) conference in Valencia, Spain.

I've learned much while working on this project with my advisor Michael Wellman and his lab (the Strategic Reasoning Group), in particular regarding the economics field of mechanism design, which will no doubt benefit me greatly in future endeavors.

It wasn't clear at all that this publication would be well-received. This is a previously unexplored problem in academic research which regards the efficient utilization of real things in the real world. Such a topic is outside the realm of typical publications at the TADA/AMEC workshop, so I was surprised when the anonymous reviewers found it to be significant, interesting, and worthy of presentation. We'll see what the workshop attendants think about it next week.