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140
The price of stability for network design with fair cost allocation
 In Proceedings of the 45th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS
, 2004
"... Abstract. Network design is a fundamental problem for which it is important to understand the effects of strategic behavior. Given a collection of selfinterested agents who want to form a network connecting certain endpoints, the set of stable solutions — the Nash equilibria — may look quite differ ..."
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Cited by 281 (30 self)
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Abstract. Network design is a fundamental problem for which it is important to understand the effects of strategic behavior. Given a collection of selfinterested agents who want to form a network connecting certain endpoints, the set of stable solutions — the Nash equilibria — may look quite different from the centrally enforced optimum. We study the quality of the best Nash equilibrium, and refer to the ratio of its cost to the optimum network cost as the price of stability. The best Nash equilibrium solution has a natural meaning of stability in this context — it is the optimal solution that can be proposed from which no user will defect. We consider the price of stability for network design with respect to one of the most widelystudied protocols for network cost allocation, in which the cost of each edge is divided equally between users whose connections make use of it; this fairdivision scheme can be derived from the Shapley value, and has a number of basic economic motivations. We show that the price of stability for network design with respect to this fair cost allocation is O(log k), where k is the number of users, and that a good Nash equilibrium can be achieved via bestresponse dynamics in which users iteratively defect from a starting solution. This establishes that the fair cost allocation protocol is in fact a useful mechanism for inducing strategic behavior to form nearoptimal equilibria. We discuss connections to the class of potential games defined by Monderer and Shapley, and extend our results to cases in which users are seeking to balance network design costs with latencies in the constructed network, with stronger results when the network has only delays and no construction costs. We also present bounds on the convergence time of bestresponse dynamics, and discuss extensions to a weighted game.
Selfish Routing and the Price of Anarchy
 MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
, 2007
"... Selfish routing is a classical mathematical model of how selfinterested users might route traffic through a congested network. The outcome of selfish routing is generally inefficient, in that it fails to optimize natural objective functions. The price of anarchy is a quantitative measure of this in ..."
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Cited by 255 (11 self)
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Selfish routing is a classical mathematical model of how selfinterested users might route traffic through a congested network. The outcome of selfish routing is generally inefficient, in that it fails to optimize natural objective functions. The price of anarchy is a quantitative measure of this inefficiency. We survey recent work that analyzes the price of anarchy of selfish routing. We also describe related results on bounding the worstpossible severity of a phenomenon called Braess’s Paradox, and on three techniques for reducing the price of anarchy of selfish routing. This survey concentrates on the contributions of the author’s PhD thesis, but also discusses several more recent results in the area.
Intrinsic Robustness of the Price of Anarchy
 STOC'09
, 2009
"... The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium ..."
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Cited by 101 (12 self)
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The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium. This drawback motivates the search for inefficiency bounds that apply more generally to weaker notions of equilibria, such as mixed Nash and correlated equilibria; or to sequences of outcomes generated by natural experimentation strategies, such as successive best responses or simultaneous regretminimization. We prove a general and fundamental connection between the price of anarchy and its seemingly stronger relatives in classes of games with a sum objective. First, we identify a “canonical sufficient condition ” for an upper bound of the POA for pure Nash equilibria, which we call a smoothness argument. Second, we show that every bound derived via a smoothness argument extends automatically, with no quantitative degradation in the bound, to mixed Nash equilibria, correlated equilibria, and the average objective function value of regretminimizing players (or “price of total anarchy”). Smoothness arguments also have automatic implications for the inefficiency of approximate and BayesianNash equilibria and, under mild additional assumptions, for bicriteria bounds and for polynomiallength bestresponse sequences. We also identify classes of games — most notably, congestion games with cost functions restricted to an arbitrary fixed set — that are tight, in the sense that smoothness arguments are guaranteed to produce an optimal worstcase upper bound on the POA, even for the smallest set of interest (pure Nash equilibria). Byproducts of our proof of this result include the first tight bounds on the POA in congestion games with nonpolynomial cost functions, and the first
Sink equilibria and convergence
 IN FOCS
, 2005
"... We introduce the concept of a sink equilibrium. A sink equilibrium is a strongly connected component with no outgoing arcs in the strategy profile graph associated with a game. The strategy profile graph has a vertex set induced by the set of pure strategy profiles; its arc set corresponds to transi ..."
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Cited by 83 (12 self)
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We introduce the concept of a sink equilibrium. A sink equilibrium is a strongly connected component with no outgoing arcs in the strategy profile graph associated with a game. The strategy profile graph has a vertex set induced by the set of pure strategy profiles; its arc set corresponds to transitions between strategy profiles that occur with nonzero probability. (Here our focus will just be on the special case in which the strategy profile graph is actually a best response graph; that is, its arc set corresponds exactly to best response moves that result from myopic or greedy behaviour.) We argue that there is a natural convergence process to sink equilibria in games where agents use pure strategies. This leads to an alternative measure of the social cost of a lack of coordination, the price of sinking, which
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 76 (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...
Convergence to Approximate Nash Equilibria in Congestion Games
 In SODA ’07
, 2007
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Selfish Load Balancing and Atomic Congestion Games
, 2007
"... We revisit a classical load balancing problem in the modern context of decentralized systems and selfinterested clients. In particular, there is a set of clients, each of whom must choose a server from a permissible set. Each client has a unitlength job and selfishly wants to minimize its own late ..."
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Cited by 72 (3 self)
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We revisit a classical load balancing problem in the modern context of decentralized systems and selfinterested clients. In particular, there is a set of clients, each of whom must choose a server from a permissible set. Each client has a unitlength job and selfishly wants to minimize its own latency (job completion time). A server’s latency is inversely proportional to its speed, but it grows linearly with (or, more generally, as the pth power of) the number of clients matched to it. This interaction is naturally modeled as an atomic congestion game, which we call selfish load balancing. We analyze the Nash equilibria of this game and prove nearly tight bounds on the price of anarchy (worstcase ratio between a Nash solution and the social optimum). In particular, for linear latency functions, we show that if the server speeds are relatively bounded and the number of clients is large compared with the number of servers, then every Nash assignment approaches social optimum. Without any assumptions on the number of clients, servers, and server speeds, the price of anarchy is at most 2.5. If all servers have the same speed, then the price of anarchy further improves to 1 + 2 / √ 3 ≈ 2.15. We also exhibit a lower bound of 2.01. Our proof techniques can also be adapted for the coordinated load balancing problem under L2 norm, where it slightly improves the best previously known upper bound on the competitive ratio of a simple greedy scheme.
On the price of anarchy and stability of correlated equilibria of linear congestion games
, 2005
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Regret minimization and the price of total anarchy
, 2008
"... We propose weakening the assumption made when studying the price of anarchy: Rather than assume that selfinterested players will play according to a Nash equilibrium (which may even be computationally hard to find), we assume only that selfish players play so as to minimize their own regret. Regret ..."
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Cited by 59 (10 self)
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We propose weakening the assumption made when studying the price of anarchy: Rather than assume that selfinterested players will play according to a Nash equilibrium (which may even be computationally hard to find), we assume only that selfish players play so as to minimize their own regret. Regret minimization can be done via simple, efficient algorithms even in many settings where the number of action choices for each player is exponential in the natural parameters of the problem. We prove that despite our weakened assumptions, in several broad classes of games, this “price of total anarchy” matches the Nash price of anarchy, even though play may never converge to Nash equilibrium. In contrast to the price of anarchy and the recently introduced price of sinking [15], which require all players to behave in a prescribed manner, we show that the price of total anarchy is in many cases resilient to the presence of Byzantine players, about whom we make no assumptions. Finally, because the price of total anarchy is an upper bound on the price of anarchy even in mixed strategies, for some games our results yield as corollaries previously unknown bounds on the price of anarchy in mixed strategies.
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 (5 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.