I have been toying with the idea of implementing a mobile market by use of a matching algorithm. Matching algorithms are algorithms assigning members of two (usually) sets to one another. The most widely known matching algorithm was developed by David Gale and Lloyd Shapley for the case of a “marriage market” whereby men propose to women (or vice versa). The Gale-Shapley algorithm solves the marriage problem and achieves a stable match. If the algorithm is male-proposing, there is a strategic incentive for the female participants not to disclose fully their preferences. Similar problems are the hospitals/residents problem, the college admissions problem, and others.
I have approached Haiko Muller from the School of Computing in the University of Leeds and we have started a project on “Mobile Market Matching”. Currently it involves the construction of a prototype with the help of our student Jason Simpson.
We are looking to develop a mobile technology prototype capable of empowering individual buyers and sellers, and reducing the need for intermediaries in markets for perishable agricultural goods in developing countries. The prototype aims at increasing the number of transactions through the use of a two-sided matching algorithm. The construction of the prototype would involve the integration of information received via a mobile carrier with a computer-based algorithm. The main expected capabilities of the prototype are as follows:
- To transfer to a computer matching program the information received from buyers/sellers via text message about their willingness to buy/sell a given quantity, at a specified price and within specified distance.
- To match buyers’ offers and sellers’ asks on the basis of their preferences using a two-sided matching algorithm. The algorithm would be aimed at achieving either a stable or a perfect match.
- To communicate via text message the matching results to buyers and sellers. To iteratively rerun the matching algorithm when buyers/ sellers reject their matching outcomes.