Much of our effort has centered on Tycoon, a market-based allocation tool where customers pay for IT resources in a kind of resource spot market -- a sort of eBay for computing power. This system is designed to be far more efficient than the more common time-sharing model and allows users to change allocations in seconds.
Tycoon’s users bid for the resources they think they will need, thus setting market price for processor cycles, memory, disk storage and bandwidth.
Tycoon aims to help HP deliver on its vision of an adaptive IT infrastructure -- a highly automated, always-on computing resource in which available IT resources can be pooled and automatically distributed to high-demand areas as needed.
Researchers are now working to refine Tycoon. For example, we are addressing the problem of obtaining truthful reservations for computational resources, which would allow suppliers to better estimate demand. Similarly, researchers have created a pricing structure designed to elicit truthful service quality reporting by IT service suppliers.
HP Labs is also applying economic ideas beyond the provision of IT resources. For example, recent research into the economics of attention explores how to increase the impact of particular pieces of information (such as an advertisement) in situations where information is plentiful but attention is scarce.
Our research led to an automatic configuration mechanism that displays those items most likely to be interesting to the user.