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189
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
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.
A BGPbased Mechanism for LowestCost Routing
, 2002
"... The routing of traffic between... this paper, we address the problem of interdomain routing from a mechanismdesign point of view. The application of mechanismdesign principles to the study of routing is the subject of earlier work by Nisan and Ronen [15] and Hershberger and Suri [11]. In this pape ..."
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Cited by 230 (17 self)
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The routing of traffic between... this paper, we address the problem of interdomain routing from a mechanismdesign point of view. The application of mechanismdesign principles to the study of routing is the subject of earlier work by Nisan and Ronen [15] and Hershberger and Suri [11]. In this paper, we formulate and solve a version of the routingmechanism design problem that is different from the previously studied version in three ways that make it more accurately reflective of realworld interdomain routing: (1) we treat the nodes as strategic agents, rather than the links; (2) our mechanism computes lowestcost routes for all sourcedestination pairs and payments for transit nodes on all of the routes (rather than computing routes and payments for only one sourcedestination pair at a time, as is done in [15,11]); (3) we show how to compute our mechanism with a distributed algorithm that is a straightforward extension to BGP and causes only modest increases in routingtable size and convergence time (in contrast with the centralized algorithms used in [15,11]). This approach of using an existing protocol as a substrate for distributed computation may prove useful in future development of Internet algorithms generally, not only for routing or pricing problems. Our design and analysis of a strategyproof, BGPbased routing mechanism provides a new, promising direction in distributed algorithmic mechanism design, which has heretofore been focused mainly on multicast cost sharing.
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.
Robust Incentive Techniques for PeertoPeer Networks
, 2004
"... Lack of cooperation (free riding) is one of the key problems that confronts today's P2P systems. What makes this problem particularly difficult is the unique set of challenges that P2P systems pose: large populations, high turnover, asymmetry of interest, collusion, zerocost identities, and traitor ..."
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Cited by 198 (3 self)
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Lack of cooperation (free riding) is one of the key problems that confronts today's P2P systems. What makes this problem particularly difficult is the unique set of challenges that P2P systems pose: large populations, high turnover, asymmetry of interest, collusion, zerocost identities, and traitors. To tackle these challenges we model the P2P system using the Generalized Prisoner's Dilemma (GPD), and propose the Reciprocative decision function as the basis of a family of incentives techniques. These techniques are fully distributed and include: discriminating server selection, maxflowbased subjective reputation, and adaptive stranger policies. Through simulation, we show that these techniques can drive a system of strategic users to nearly optimal levels of cooperation.
Computationally feasible VCG mechanisms
 In Proceedings of the Second ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC’00
, 2000
"... A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore comp ..."
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Cited by 188 (5 self)
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A major achievement of mechanism design theory is a general method for the construction of truthful mechanisms called VCG. When applying this method to complex problems such as combinatorial auctions, a difficulty arises: VCG mechanisms are required to compute optimal outcomes and are therefore computationally infeasible. However, if the optimal outcome is replaced by the results of a suboptimal algorithm, the resulting mechanism (termed VCGbased) is no longer necessarily truthful. The first part of this paper studies this phenomenon in depth and shows that it is near universal. Specifically, we prove that essentially all reasonable approximations or heuristics for combinatorial auctions as well as a wide class of cost minimization problems yield nontruthful VCGbased mechanisms. We generalize these results for affine maximizers. The second part of this paper proposes a general method for circumventing the above problem. We introduce a modification of VCGbased mechanisms in which the agents are given a chance to improve the output of the underlying algorithm. When the agents behave truthfully, the welfare obtained by the mechanism is at least as good as the one obtained by the algorithm’s output. We provide a strong rationale for truthtelling behavior. Our method satisfies individual rationality as well.
Algorithms, Games, and the Internet
 In STOC
, 2001
"... If the Internet is the next great subject for Theoretical Computer Science to model and illuminate mathematically, then Game Theory, and Mathematical Economics more generally, are likely to prove useful tools. In this talk I survey some opportunities and challenges in this important frontier. 1. ..."
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Cited by 135 (0 self)
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If the Internet is the next great subject for Theoretical Computer Science to model and illuminate mathematically, then Game Theory, and Mathematical Economics more generally, are likely to prove useful tools. In this talk I survey some opportunities and challenges in this important frontier. 1.
Competitive auctions and digital goods
 In Proc. 12th Symp. on Discrete Alg
, 2001
"... Abstract We study a class of single round, sealed bid auctions for items in unlimited supply such as digital goods. We focus on auctions that are truthful and competitive. Truthful auctions encourage bidders to bid their utility; competitive auctions yield revenue within a constant factor of the rev ..."
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Cited by 126 (27 self)
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Abstract We study a class of single round, sealed bid auctions for items in unlimited supply such as digital goods. We focus on auctions that are truthful and competitive. Truthful auctions encourage bidders to bid their utility; competitive auctions yield revenue within a constant factor of the revenue for optimal fixed pricing. We show that for any truthful auction, even a multiprice auction, the expected revenue does not exceed that for optimal fixed pricing. We also give a bound on how far the revenue for optimal fixed pricing can be from the total market utility. We show that several randomized auctions are truthful and competitive under certain assumptions, and that no truthful deterministic auction is competitive. We present simulation results which confirm that our auctions compare favorably to fixed pricing. Some of our results extend to bounded supply markets, for which we also get truthful and competitive auctions.
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.