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221
Worstcase equilibria
 IN PROCEEDINGS OF THE 16TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
, 1999
"... In a system in which noncooperative agents share a common resource, we propose the ratio between the worst possible Nash equilibrium and the social optimum as a measure of the effectiveness of the system. Deriving upper and lower bounds for this ratio in a model in which several agents share a ver ..."
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Cited by 631 (19 self)
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In a system in which noncooperative agents share a common resource, we propose the ratio between the worst possible Nash equilibrium and the social optimum as a measure of the effectiveness of the system. Deriving upper and lower bounds for this ratio in a model in which several agents share a very simple network leads to some interesting mathematics, results, and open problems.
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 516 (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
Sprite: A Simple, CheatProof, CreditBased System for Mobile AdHoc Networks
 in Proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM
, 2002
"... Mobile ad hoc networking has been an active research area for several years. How to stimulate cooperation among selfish mobile nodes, however, is not well addressed yet. In this paper, we propose Sprite, a simple, cheatproof, creditbased system for stimulating cooperation among selfish nodes in mob ..."
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Cited by 320 (10 self)
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Mobile ad hoc networking has been an active research area for several years. How to stimulate cooperation among selfish mobile nodes, however, is not well addressed yet. In this paper, we propose Sprite, a simple, cheatproof, creditbased system for stimulating cooperation among selfish nodes in mobile ad hoc networks. Our system provides incentive for mobile nodes to cooperate and report actions honestly. Compared with previous approaches, our system does not require any tamperproof hardware at any node. Furthermore, we present a formal model of our system and prove its properties. Evaluations of a prototype implementation show that the overhead of our system is small. Simulations and analysis show that mobile nodes can cooperate and forward each other's messages, unless the resource of each node is extremely low.
Distributed Algorithmic Mechanism Design: Recent Results and Future Directions
 In Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Discrete Algorithms and Methods for Mobile Computing and Communications
, 2002
"... Distributed Algorithmic Mechanism Design (DAMD) combines theoretical computer science's traditional focus on computational tractability with its more recent interest in incentive compatibility and distributed computing. The Internet's decentralized nature, in which distributed computation and autono ..."
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Cited by 239 (17 self)
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Distributed Algorithmic Mechanism Design (DAMD) combines theoretical computer science's traditional focus on computational tractability with its more recent interest in incentive compatibility and distributed computing. The Internet's decentralized nature, in which distributed computation and autonomous agents prevail, makes DAMD a very natural approach for many Internet problems. This paper first outlines the basics of DAMD and then reviews previous DAMD results on multicast cost sharing and interdomain routing. The remainder of the paper describes several promising research directions and poses some specific open problems.
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 208 (28 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.
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 178 (14 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
Tight bounds for worstcase equilibria
 Proc. 13th SODA
, 2002
"... We study the problem of traffic routing in noncooperative networks. In such networks, users may follow selfish strategies to optimize their own performance measure and therefore their behavior does not have to lead to optimal performance of the entire network. In this paper we investigate the worst ..."
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Cited by 160 (6 self)
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We study the problem of traffic routing in noncooperative networks. In such networks, users may follow selfish strategies to optimize their own performance measure and therefore their behavior does not have to lead to optimal performance of the entire network. In this paper we investigate the worstcase coordination ratio, which is a game theoretic measure aiming to reflect the price of selfish routing. Following a line of previous work, we focus on the most basic networks consisting of parallel links with linear latency functions. Our main result is that the worstcase coordination ratio on m parallel links of possibly different speeds is logm Θ log log logm In fact, we are able to give an exact description of the worstcase coordination ratio depending on the number of links and the ratio of the speed of the fastest link over the speed of the slowest link. For example, for the special case in which all m parallel links have the same speed, we can prove that the worstcase coordination ratio is Γ (−1) (m) + Θ(1) with Γ denoting the Gamma (factorial) function. Our bounds entirely resolve an open problem posed recently by Koutsoupias and Papadimitriou [KP99].
Nearoptimal network design with selfish agents
 IN PROCEEDINGS OF THE 35TH ANNUAL ACM SYMPOSIUM ON THEORY OF COMPUTING (STOC
, 2003
"... We introduce a simple network design game that models how independent selfish agents can build or maintain a large network. In our game every agent has a specific connectivity requirement, i.e. each agent has a set of terminals and wants to build a network in which his terminals are connected. Possi ..."
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Cited by 121 (21 self)
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We introduce a simple network design game that models how independent selfish agents can build or maintain a large network. In our game every agent has a specific connectivity requirement, i.e. each agent has a set of terminals and wants to build a network in which his terminals are connected. Possible edges in the network have costs and each agent’s goal is to pay as little as possible. Determining whether or not a Nash equilibrium exists in this game is NPcomplete. However, when the goal of each player is to connect a terminal to a common source, we prove that there is a Nash equilibrium as cheap as the optimal network, and give a polynomial time algorithm to find a (1 + ε)approximate Nash equilibrium that does not cost much more. For the general connection game we prove that there is a 3approximate Nash equilibrium that is as cheap as the optimal network, and give an algorithm to find a (4.65 + ε)approximate Nash equilibrium that does not cost much more.
Frugal path mechanisms
, 2002
"... We consider the problem of selecting a low cost s − t path in a graph, where the edge costs are a secret known only to the various economic agents who own them. To solve this problem, Nisan and Ronen applied the celebrated VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism, which pays a premium to induce the edg ..."
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Cited by 115 (2 self)
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We consider the problem of selecting a low cost s − t path in a graph, where the edge costs are a secret known only to the various economic agents who own them. To solve this problem, Nisan and Ronen applied the celebrated VickreyClarkeGroves (VCG) mechanism, which pays a premium to induce the edges to reveal their costs truthfully. We observe that this premium can be unacceptably high. There are simple instances where the mechanism pays Θ(k) times the actual cost of the path, even if there is an alternate path available that costs only (1 + ɛ) times as much. This inspires the frugal path problem, which is to design a mechanism that selects a path and induces truthful cost revelation without paying such a high premium. This paper contributes negative results on the frugal path problem. On two large classes of graphs, including ones having three nodedisjoint s − t paths, we prove that no reasonable mechanism can always avoid paying a high premium to induce truthtelling. In particular, we introduce a general class of min function mechanisms, and show that all min function mechanisms can be forced to overpay just as badly as VCG. On the other hand, we prove that (on two large classes of graphs) every truthful mechanism satisfying some reasonable properties is a min function mechanism. 1
Nash Equilibria in Competitive Societies, with Applications to Facility Location, Traffic Routing and Auction
, 2002
"... We consider the following class of problems. The value of an outcome to a society is measured via a submodular utility function (submodularity has a natural economic interpretation: decreasing marginal utility). Decisions, however are controlled by noncooperative agents who seek to maximise their ..."
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Cited by 103 (4 self)
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We consider the following class of problems. The value of an outcome to a society is measured via a submodular utility function (submodularity has a natural economic interpretation: decreasing marginal utility). Decisions, however are controlled by noncooperative agents who seek to maximise their own private utility. We present, under some basic assumptions, guarantees on the social performance of Nash equilibria. For submodular utility functions, any Nash equilibrium gives an expected social utility within a factor 2 of optimal, subject to a functiondependent additive term. For nondecreasing, submodular utility functions, any Nash equilibrium gives an expected social utility within a factor 1 + of optimal, where 0 1 is a number based upon the discrete curvature of the function. A condition under which all sets of social and private utility functions induce pure strategy Nash equilibria is presented. The case in which agents, themselves, make use of approximation algorithms in decision making is discussed and performance guarantees given. Finally we present some speci c problems that fall into our framework. These include the competitive versions of the facility location problem and kmedian problem, a maximisation version of the trac routing problem of Roughgarden and Tardos [16], and multipleitem auctions.