Optimal Pricing for the Competitive and Evolutionary Cloud Market / 139
Bolei Xu, Tao Qin, Guoping Qiu, Tie-Yan Liu
We study the problem of how to optimize a cloud service provider's pricing policy so as to better compete with other providers. Different from previous work, we take both the evolution of the market and the competition between multiple cloud providers into consideration while optimizing the pricing strategy for the provider. Inspired by the real situations in today's cloud market, we consider a situation in which there is only one provider who actively optimizes his/her pricing policy, while other providers adopt a follow-up policy to match his/her price cut. To compute optimal pricing policy under the above settings, we decompose the optimization problem into two steps: (1) When the market finally becomes saturated, we use Q-learning, a method of reinforcement learning, to derive an optimal pricing policy for the stationary market; (2) Based on the optimal policy for the stationary market, we use backward induction to derive an optimal pricing policy for the situation of competition in an evolutionary market. Numerical simulations demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.