Software development and system validation

Auctiometrix has been involved in the development, testing and verification of several software packages, which have been or are being used in industry practice.

Software development
In telecom, we developed web-based auction software (including winner determination and pricing algorithms) for complex spectrum auctions. Our software incorporates – next to all standard auction formats – recent auction formats, such as SMRAs and CCAs. It allows for general lot structures and arbitrary eligibility and spectrum cap rules. The software can be used by regulators to implement spectrum auctions but also by bidders to simulate auctions to develop a bid strategy. Our software is customizable and can be made ready for any custom auction design.

The auction software is implemented with Django/Python software, to be run on an Apache web server. We use standard transport-layer encryption to achieve integrity and two-factor authentication (certificates and passwords) for extra security. All events (both valid and invalid) will be logged and monitored during the auction. During the auction, there will be high-frequency backups of the auction database, that allow to continue the auction from the previous bid in case of unlikely event of denial of service attack. We guarantee security of the network and of its electronic access under all reasonable circumstances. We store data exchanged throughout the auction process between bidders, the auction system and the government agency in logs to enable detailed reviewing after completion of the auction process.

Our auction software is exceptionally user-friendly. No specific non-standard software needs to be installed on the bidders’ computers. Auctioneer and bidders are able to access the system using basic IT web browsers. There are three types of interfaces: one for the Bidders, one for the Auctioneer, and one for the Monitors (members of the Auctioneer team who can view the auction but not make decisions). Information is easily accessible and displayed in a logical structure.

Bidders can access history files providing information about the bids made in each completed round and aggregate information (e.g. round price per lot, total demand for lots in each category) from each completed round of the auction. The information contained in the history files are downloadable. Bidders can also receive messages issued by the auctioneer. Our software checks whether submitted bids are compliant with the auction rules. If not, the bidder will be prevented from submitting the bid and must return to the bid form to enter a valid bid. Bidders will also be warned if submitting their bid will lead to a loss of eligibility for the next round. The auction process is managed by an auctioneer who uses a similar web-based interface to that used by bidders. The auctioneer will be able to follow the bids received, both as a percentage increase and as a bid sum increase.

We also provide manuals. These cover the following: software and hardware requirements, instructions on how to get access to the auction software, how to install the digital certificates, how to run the auction and to use the tools available in the software (auctioneer’s manual), how to submit bids and how to make use of all functions available to bidders (bidder’s manual).

System validation
For government agencies we validate third party auction software. Services we provide include: