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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 229 (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.
The Price of Anarchy of Finite Congestion Games
 In Proceedings of the 37th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC
, 2005
"... Abstract We consider the price of anarchy of pure Nash equilibria in congestion games with linearlatency functions. For asymmetric games, the price of anarchy of maximum social cost is \Theta (p N),where N is the number of players. For all other cases of symmetric or asymmetric games andfor both max ..."
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Cited by 153 (6 self)
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Abstract We consider the price of anarchy of pure Nash equilibria in congestion games with linearlatency functions. For asymmetric games, the price of anarchy of maximum social cost is \Theta (p N),where N is the number of players. For all other cases of symmetric or asymmetric games andfor both maximum and average social cost, the price of anarchy is 5 /2. We extend the results tolatency functions that are polynomials of bounded degree. We also extend some of the results to mixed Nash equilibria.
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 124 (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
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 73 (11 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 load balancing and atomic congestion games
 Algorithmica
, 2004
"... Abstract We revisit a classical load balancing problem in the modern context of decentralized systems andselfinterested clients. In particular, there is a set of clients, each of whom must choose a server from ..."
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Cited by 59 (3 self)
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Abstract We revisit a classical load balancing problem in the modern context of decentralized systems andselfinterested clients. In particular, there is a set of clients, each of whom must choose a server from
On the price of anarchy and stability of correlated equilibria of linear congestion games
, 2005
"... ..."
A New Model for Selfish Routing
 Proceedings of the 21st International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (STACS’04), LNCS 2996
, 2004
"... Abstract. In this work, we introduce and study a new model for selfish routing over noncooperative networks that combines features from the two such best studied models, namely the KP model and the Wardrop model in an interesting way. We consider a set of n users, each using a mixed strategy to shi ..."
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Cited by 53 (10 self)
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Abstract. In this work, we introduce and study a new model for selfish routing over noncooperative networks that combines features from the two such best studied models, namely the KP model and the Wardrop model in an interesting way. We consider a set of n users, each using a mixed strategy to ship its unsplittable traffic over a network consisting of m parallel links. In a Nash equilibrium, no user can increase its Individual Cost by unilaterally deviating from its strategy. To evaluate the performance of such Nash equilibria, we introduce Quadratic Social Cost as a certain sum of Individual Costs – namely, the sum of the expectations of the squares of the incurred link latencies. This definition is unlike the KP model, where Maximum Social Cost has been defined as the maximum of Individual Costs. We analyse the impact of our modeling assumptions on the computation of Quadratic Social Cost, on the structure of worstcase Nash equilibria, and on bounds on the Quadratic Coordination Ratio.
Exact Price of Anarchy for Polynomial Congestion Games
, 2006
"... We show exact values for the price of anarchy of weighted and unweighted congestion games with polynomial latency functions. The given values also hold for weighted and unweighted network congestion games. ..."
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Cited by 40 (8 self)
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We show exact values for the price of anarchy of weighted and unweighted congestion games with polynomial latency functions. The given values also hold for weighted and unweighted network congestion games.
Tight bounds for selfish and greedy load balancing
 ICALP 2006. LNCS
, 2006
"... Abstract. We study the load balancing problem in the context of a set of clients each wishing to run a job on a server selected among a subset of permissible servers for the particular client. We consider two different scenarios. In selfish load balancing, each client is selfish in the sense that it ..."
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Cited by 39 (5 self)
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Abstract. We study the load balancing problem in the context of a set of clients each wishing to run a job on a server selected among a subset of permissible servers for the particular client. We consider two different scenarios. In selfish load balancing, each client is selfish in the sense that it selects to run its job to the server among its permissible servers having the smallest latency given the assignments of the jobs of other clients to servers. In online load balancing, clients appear online and, when a client appears, it has to make an irrevocable decision and assign its job to one of its permissible servers. Here, we assume that the clients aim to optimize some global criterion but in an online fashion. A natural local optimization criterion that can be used by each client when making its decision is to assign its job to that server that gives the minimum increase of the global objective. This gives rise to greedy online solutions. The aim of this paper is to determine how much the quality of load balancing is affected by selfishness and greediness. We characterize almost completely the impact of selfishness and greediness in load balancing by presenting new and improved, tight or almost tight bounds on the price of anarchy and price of stability of selfish load balancing as well as on the competitiveness of the greedy algorithm for online load balancing when the objective is to minimize the total latency of all clients on servers with linear latency functions. 1
Nash Equilibria in Discrete Routing Games with Convex Latency Functions
, 2004
"... In a discrete routing game, each of n selfish users employs a mixed strategy to ship her (unsplittable) traffic over m parallel links. The (expected) latency on a link is determined by an arbitrary nondecreasing, nonconstant and convex latency function φ. In a Nash equilibrium, each user alone is ..."
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Cited by 39 (12 self)
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In a discrete routing game, each of n selfish users employs a mixed strategy to ship her (unsplittable) traffic over m parallel links. The (expected) latency on a link is determined by an arbitrary nondecreasing, nonconstant and convex latency function φ. In a Nash equilibrium, each user alone is minimizing her (Expected) Individual Cost, which is the (expected) latency on the link she chooses. To evaluate Nash equilibria, we formulate Social Cost as the sum of the users ’ (Expected) Individual Costs. The Price of Anarchy is the worstcase ratio of Social Cost for a Nash equilibrium over the least possible Social Cost. A Nash equilibrium is pure if each user deterministically chooses a single link; a Nash equilibrium is fully mixed if each user chooses each link with nonzero probability. We obtain: For the case of identical users, the Social Cost of any Nash equilibrium is no more than the Social Cost of the fully mixed Nash equilibrium, which may exist only uniquely. Moreover, instances admitting a fully mixed Nash equilibrium enjoy an efficient characterization. For the case of identical users, we derive two upper bounds on the Price of Anarchy: For the case of identical links with a monomial latency function φ(x) = x d, the Price of Anarchy is the Bell number of order d + 1. For pure Nash equilibria, a generic upper bound from the Wardrop model can be transfered to discrete routing games. For polynomial latency functions with nonnegative coefficients and degree d, this yields an upper bound of d + 1. For the