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Online Matching and Ad Allocation

Foundations and Trends in Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 8 (4) (2013), pp. 265-368


Matching is a classic problem with a rich history and a significant impact, both on the theory of algorithms and in practice. Recently there has been a surge of interest in the online version of matching and its generalizations, due to the important new application domain of Internet advertising. The theory of online matching and allocation has played a critical role in designing algorithms for ad allocation. This monograph surveys the key problems, models and algorithms from online matchings, as well as their implication in the practice of ad allocation. The goal is to provide a classification of the problems in this area, an introduction into the techniques used, a glimpse into the practical impact, and to provide direction in terms of open questions. Matching continues to find core applications in diverse domains, and the advent of massive online and streaming data emphasizes the future applicability of the algorithms and techniques surveyed here.