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How bad is selfish routing?
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 2002
"... We consider the problem of routing traffic to optimize the performance of a congested network. We are given a network, a rate of traffic between each pair of nodes, and a latency function for each edge specifying the time needed to traverse the edge given its congestion; the objective is to route t ..."
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Cited by 678 (27 self)
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We consider the problem of routing traffic to optimize the performance of a congested network. We are given a network, a rate of traffic between each pair of nodes, and a latency function for each edge specifying the time needed to traverse the edge given its congestion; the objective is to route traffic such that the sum of all travel times—the total latency—is minimized. In many settings, it may be expensive or impossible to regulate network traffic so as to implement an optimal assignment of routes. In the absence of regulation by some central authority, we assume that each network user routes its traffic on the minimumlatency path available to it, given the network congestion caused by the other users. In general such a “selfishly motivated ” assignment of traffic to paths will not minimize the total latency; hence, this lack of regulation carries the cost of decreased network performance. In this article, we quantify the degradation in network performance due to unregulated traffic. We prove that if the latency of each edge is a linear function of its congestion, then the total latency of the routes chosen by selfish network users is at most 4/3 times the minimum possible total latency (subject to the condition that all traffic must be routed). We also consider the more general setting in which edge latency functions are assumed only to be continuous and nondecreasing in the edge congestion. Here, the total
The price of anarchy is independent of the network topology
 JOURNAL OF COMPUTER AND SYSTEM SCIENCES
, 2002
"... We study the degradation in network performance caused by the selfish behavior of noncooperative network users. We consider a model of selfish routing in which the latency experienced by network traffic on an edge of the network is a function of the edge congestion, and network users are assumed to ..."
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Cited by 219 (16 self)
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We study the degradation in network performance caused by the selfish behavior of noncooperative network users. We consider a model of selfish routing in which the latency experienced by network traffic on an edge of the network is a function of the edge congestion, and network users are assumed to selfishly route traffic on minimumlatency paths. The quality of a routing of traffic is measured by the sum of travel times, also called the total latency. The outcome of selfish routing—a Nash equilibrium—does not in general minimize the total latency; hence, selfish behavior carries the cost of decreased network performance. We quantify this degradation in network performance via the price of anarchy, the worstpossible ratio between the total latency of a Nash equilibrium and of an optimal routing of the traffic. We show the price of anarchy is determined only by the simplest of networks. Specifically, we prove that under weak hypotheses on the class of allowable edge latency functions, the worstcase ratio between the total latency of a Nash equilibrium and of a minimumlatency routing for any multicommodity flow network is achieved by a singlecommodity
The price of routing unsplittable flow
 In Proc. 37th Symp. Theory of Computing (STOC
, 2005
"... The essence of the routing problem in real networks is that the traffic demand from a source to destination must be satisfied by choosing a single path between source and destination. The splittable version of this problem is when demand can be satisfied by many paths, namely a flow from source to d ..."
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Cited by 136 (3 self)
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The essence of the routing problem in real networks is that the traffic demand from a source to destination must be satisfied by choosing a single path between source and destination. The splittable version of this problem is when demand can be satisfied by many paths, namely a flow from source to destination. The unsplittable, or discrete version of the problem is more realistic yet is more complex from the algorithmic point of view; in some settings optimizing such unsplittable traffic flow is computationally intractable. In this paper, we assume this more realistic unsplittable model, and investigate the ”price of anarchy”, or deterioration of network performance measured in total traffic latency under the selfish user behavior. We show that for linear edge latency functions the price of anarchy is exactly 2.618 for weighted demand and exactly 2.5 for unweighted demand. These results are easily extended to (weighted or unweighted) atomic ”congestion games”, where paths are replaced by general subsets. We also show that for polynomials of degree d edge latency functions the price of anarchy is dΘ(d). Our results hold also for mixed strategies. Previous results of Roughgarden and Tardos showed that for linear edge latency functions the price of anarchy is exactly 4 3 under the assumption that each user controls only a negligible fraction of the overall traffic (this result also holds for the splittable case). Note that under the assumption of negligible traffic pure and mixed strategies are equivalent and also splittable and unsplittable models are equivalent. 1
Complexity Results about Nash Equilibria
, 2002
"... Noncooperative game theory provides a normative framework for analyzing strategic interactions. ..."
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Cited by 134 (10 self)
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Noncooperative game theory provides a normative framework for analyzing strategic interactions.
Stackelberg scheduling strategies
 In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing
, 2001
"... AbstractWe study the problem of optimizing the performance of a system shared by selfish, noncooperative users. We consider the concrete setting of scheduling jobs on a set of shared machines with loaddependent latency functions specifying the length of time necessary to complete a job; we measure ..."
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Cited by 127 (7 self)
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AbstractWe study the problem of optimizing the performance of a system shared by selfish, noncooperative users. We consider the concrete setting of scheduling jobs on a set of shared machines with loaddependent latency functions specifying the length of time necessary to complete a job; we measure system performance by the total latency of the system. Assigning jobs according to the selfish interests of individual users (who wish to minimize only the latency that their own jobs experience) typically results in suboptimal system performance. However, in many systems of this type there is a mixture of &quot;selfishly controlled &quot; and &quot;centrally controlled &quot; jobs; as the assignment of centrally controlled jobs will influence the subsequent actions by selfish users, we aspire to contain the degradation in system performance due to selfish behavior by scheduling the centrally controlled jobs in the best possible way. We formulate this goal as an optimization problem via Stackelberg games, games in which one player acts a leader (here, the centralized authority interested in optimizing system performance) and the rest as followers (the selfish users). The problem is then to compute a strategy for the leader (a Stackelberg strategy) that induces the followers to react in a way that (at least approximately) minimizes the total latency in the system. In this paper, we prove that it is NPhard to compute the optimal Stackelberg strategy and present simple strategies with provable performance guarantees. More precisely, we give a simple algorithm that computes a strategy inducing a job assignment with total latency no more than a constant times that of the optimal assignment of all of the jobs; in the absence of centrally controlled jobs and a Stackelberg strategy, no result of this type is possible. We also prove stronger performance guarantees in the special case where every machine latency function is linear in the machine load.
Pricing network edges for heterogeneous selfish users
 Proc. of STOC
, 2003
"... We study the negative consequences of selfish behavior in a congested network and economic means of influencing such behavior. We consider the model of selfish routing defined by Wardrop [30] and studied in a computer science context by Roughgarden and Tardos [26]. In this model, the latency experie ..."
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Cited by 114 (9 self)
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We study the negative consequences of selfish behavior in a congested network and economic means of influencing such behavior. We consider the model of selfish routing defined by Wardrop [30] and studied in a computer science context by Roughgarden and Tardos [26]. In this model, the latency experienced by network traffic on an edge of the network is a function of the edge congestion, and network users are assumed to selfishly route traffic on minimumlatency paths. The quality of a routing of traffic is measured by the sum of travel times (the total latency). It is well known that the outcome of selfish routing (a Nash equilibrium) does not minimize the total latency and can be improved upon with coordination. An ancient strategy for improving the selfish solution is the principle of marginal cost pricing, which asserts that on each edge of the network, each network user on the edge should pay a tax offsetting the congestion effects caused by its presence. By pricing network edges according to this principle, the inefficiency of selfish routing can always be eradicated. This result, while fundamental, assumes a very strong homogeneity property: all network users are assumed to trade off time and money in an identical way. The guarantee also ignores both the algorithmic
Selfish Traffic Allocation for Server Farms
, 2003
"... We study the price of selfish routing in noncooperative networks like the Internet. In particular, we investigate the price... ..."
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Cited by 80 (5 self)
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We study the price of selfish routing in noncooperative networks like the Internet. In particular, we investigate the price...
How Much Can Taxes Help Selfish Routing?
 EC'03
, 2003
"... ... in networks. We consider a model of selfish routing in which the latency experienced by network tra#c on an edge of the network is a function of the edge congestion, and network users are assumed to selfishly route tra#c on minimumlatency paths. The quality of a routing of tra#c is historically ..."
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Cited by 77 (5 self)
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... in networks. We consider a model of selfish routing in which the latency experienced by network tra#c on an edge of the network is a function of the edge congestion, and network users are assumed to selfishly route tra#c on minimumlatency paths. The quality of a routing of tra#c is historically measured by the sum of all travel times, also called the total latency. It is well known
Specification Faithfulness in Networks with Rational Nodes
, 2004
"... It is useful to prove that an implementation correctly follows a specification. But even with a provably correct implementation, given a choice, would a node choose to follow it? This paper explores how to create distributed system specifications that will be faithfully implemented in networks with ..."
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Cited by 72 (11 self)
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It is useful to prove that an implementation correctly follows a specification. But even with a provably correct implementation, given a choice, would a node choose to follow it? This paper explores how to create distributed system specifications that will be faithfully implemented in networks with rational nodes, so that no node will choose to deviate. Given a strategyproof centralized mechanism, and given a network of nodes modeled as having rationalmanipulation faults, we provide a proof technique to establish the incentive, communication, and algorithmcompatibility properties that guarantee that participating nodes are faithful to a suggested specification. As a case study, we apply our methods to extend the strategyproof interdomain routing mechanism proposed by Feigenbaum, Papadimitriou, Sami, and Shenker (FPSS) [7], defining a faithful implementation.
Coordination mechanisms
 PROCEEDINGS OF THE 31ST INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM ON AUTOMATA, LANGUAGES AND PROGRAMMING, IN: LECTURE NOTES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
, 2004
"... We introduce the notion of coordination mechanisms to improve the performance in systems with independent selfish and noncolluding agents. The quality of a coordination mechanism is measured by its price of anarchy—the worstcase performance of a Nash equilibrium over the (centrally controlled) soc ..."
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Cited by 57 (6 self)
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We introduce the notion of coordination mechanisms to improve the performance in systems with independent selfish and noncolluding agents. The quality of a coordination mechanism is measured by its price of anarchy—the worstcase performance of a Nash equilibrium over the (centrally controlled) social optimum. We give upper and lower bounds for the price of anarchy for selfish task allocation and congestion games.