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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
Distributed selfish load balancing
, 2006
"... Suppose that a set of m tasks are to be shared as equally as possible amongst a set of n resources. A gametheoretic mechanism to find a suitable allocation is to associate each task with a “selfish agent”, and require each agent to select a resource, with the cost of a resource being the number of ..."
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Cited by 40 (2 self)
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Suppose that a set of m tasks are to be shared as equally as possible amongst a set of n resources. A gametheoretic mechanism to find a suitable allocation is to associate each task with a “selfish agent”, and require each agent to select a resource, with the cost of a resource being the number of agents to select it. Agents would then be expected to migrate from overloaded to underloaded resources, until the allocation becomes balanced. Recent work has studied the question of how this can take place within a distributed setting in which agents migrate selfishly without any centralized control. In this paper we discuss a natural protocol for the agents which combines the following desirable features: It can be implemented in a strongly distributed setting, uses no central control, and has good convergence properties. For m ≫ n, the system becomes approximately balanced (an ǫNash equilibrium) in expected time O(log log m). We show using a martingale technique that the process converges to a perfectly balanced allocation in expected time O(log log m + n 4). We also give a lower bound of Ω(max{loglog m, n}) for the convergence time.
Pure Nash equilibria in playerspecific and weighted congestion games
 IN PROC. OF THE 2ND INT. WORKSHOP ON INTERNET AND NETWORK ECONOMICS (WINE
, 2006
"... Additionally, our analysis of playerspecific matroid congestion games yields a polynomial time algorithm for computing pure equilibria. We also address questions related to the convergence time of such games. For playerspecific matroid congestion games, in which the best response dynamics may cycl ..."
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Cited by 31 (10 self)
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Additionally, our analysis of playerspecific matroid congestion games yields a polynomial time algorithm for computing pure equilibria. We also address questions related to the convergence time of such games. For playerspecific matroid congestion games, in which the best response dynamics may cycle, we show that from every state there exists a short sequences of better responses to an equilibrium. For weighted matroid congestion games, we present a superpolynomial lower bound on the convergence time of the best response dynamics showing that players do not even converge in pseudopolynomial time.
Efficient coordination mechanisms for unrelated machine scheduling
 In: Proc. AMCSIAM SODA
, 2009
"... We present three new coordination mechanisms for scheduling n selfish jobs on m unrelated machines. A coordination mechanism aims to mitigate the impact of selfishness of jobs on the efficiency of schedules by defining a local scheduling policy on each machine. The scheduling policies induce a game ..."
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Cited by 20 (1 self)
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We present three new coordination mechanisms for scheduling n selfish jobs on m unrelated machines. A coordination mechanism aims to mitigate the impact of selfishness of jobs on the efficiency of schedules by defining a local scheduling policy on each machine. The scheduling policies induce a game among the jobs and each job prefers to be scheduled on a machine so that its completion time is minimum given the assignments of the other jobs. We consider the maximum completion time among all jobs as the measure of the efficiency of schedules. The approximation ratio of a coordination mechanism quantifies the efficiency of pure Nash equilibria (price of anarchy) of the induced game. Our mechanisms are deterministic, local, and preemptive in the sense that the scheduling policy does not necessarily process
Congestion games with playerspecific constants. In:
 Proceedings of the 32nd International Symposium Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS),
, 2007
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Congestion games: Optimization in competition
 In Proceedings of the 2nd Algorithms and Complexity in Durham Workshop
, 2006
"... abstract. In a congestion game, several players simultaneously aim at allocating sets of resources, e.g., each player aims at allocating a shortest path between a source/destination pair in a given network or, to give another example, each player aims at allocating a minimum weight spanning tree in ..."
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Cited by 16 (0 self)
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abstract. In a congestion game, several players simultaneously aim at allocating sets of resources, e.g., each player aims at allocating a shortest path between a source/destination pair in a given network or, to give another example, each player aims at allocating a minimum weight spanning tree in a given graph. The cost (length, delay, weight) of a resource (edge) is a function of the congestion, i.e., the number of players allocating the resource. In this paper, we survey recent results about the complexity of computing Nash equilibria for congestion games and the convergence time towards Nash equilibria. 1
The Price of Uncertainty
"... We study the degree to which small fluctuations in costs in wellstudied potential games can impact the result of natural bestresponse and improvedresponse dynamics. We call this the Price of Uncertainty and study it in a wide variety of potential games (including fair costsharing games, setcover ..."
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Cited by 14 (5 self)
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We study the degree to which small fluctuations in costs in wellstudied potential games can impact the result of natural bestresponse and improvedresponse dynamics. We call this the Price of Uncertainty and study it in a wide variety of potential games (including fair costsharing games, setcover games, routing games, and jobscheduling games), finding a number of surprising results. In particular, we show that in certain cases, even extremely small fluctuations can cause these dynamics to spin out of control and move to states of much higher social cost, whereas in other cases these dynamics are much more stable even to large degrees of fluctuation. We also consider the resilience of these dynamics to a small number of Byzantine players about which no assumptions are made. We show again a contrast between different games. In certain cases (e.g., fair costsharing, setcovering, jobscheduling) even a single Byzantine
Circumventing the Price of Anarchy: Leading Dynamics to Good Behavior
"... Many natural games can have a dramatic difference between the quality of their best and worst Nash equilibria, even in pure strategies. Yet, nearly all work to date on dynamics shows only convergence to some equilibrium, especially within a polynomial number of steps. In this work we study how age ..."
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Cited by 14 (6 self)
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Many natural games can have a dramatic difference between the quality of their best and worst Nash equilibria, even in pure strategies. Yet, nearly all work to date on dynamics shows only convergence to some equilibrium, especially within a polynomial number of steps. In this work we study how agents with some knowledge of the game might be able to quickly (within a polynomial number of steps) find their way to states of quality close to the best equilibrium. We consider two natural learning models in which players choose between greedy behavior and following a proposed good but untrusted strategy and analyze two important classes of games in this context, fair costsharing and consensus games. Both games have extremely high Price of Anarchy and yet we show that behavior in these models can efficiently reach lowcost states.
Computing equilibria: A computational complexity perspective
, 2009
"... Computational complexity is the subfield of computer science that rigorously studies the intrinsic difficulty of computational problems. This survey explains how complexity theory defines “hard problems”; applies these concepts to several equilibrium computation problems; and discusses implications ..."
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Cited by 13 (2 self)
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Computational complexity is the subfield of computer science that rigorously studies the intrinsic difficulty of computational problems. This survey explains how complexity theory defines “hard problems”; applies these concepts to several equilibrium computation problems; and discusses implications for computation, games, and behavior. We assume