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73
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 513 (28 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
Efficient power control via pricing in wireless data networks
 IEEE Trans. on Commun
, 2002
"... Abstract—A major challenge in the operation of wireless communications systems is the efficient use of radio resources. One important component of radio resource management is power control, which has been studied extensively in the context of voice communications. With the increasing demand for wir ..."
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Cited by 204 (6 self)
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Abstract—A major challenge in the operation of wireless communications systems is the efficient use of radio resources. One important component of radio resource management is power control, which has been studied extensively in the context of voice communications. With the increasing demand for wireless data services, it is necessary to establish power control algorithms for information sources other than voice. We present a power control solution for wireless data in the analytical setting of a game theoretic framework. In this context, the quality of service (QoS) a wireless terminal receives is referred to as the utility and distributed power control is a noncooperative power control game where users maximize their utility. The outcome of the game results in a Nash equilibrium that is inefficient. We introduce pricing of transmit powers in order to obtain Pareto improvement of the noncooperative power control game, i.e., to obtain improvements in user utilities relative to the case with no pricing. Specifically, we consider a pricing function that is a linear function of the transmit power. The simplicity of the pricing function allows a distributed implementation where the price can be broadcast by the base station to all the terminals. We see that pricing is especially helpful in a heavily loaded system. Index Terms—Game theory, Pareto efficiency, power control, pricing, wireless data. I.
A game theoretic framework for bandwidth allocation and pricing in broadband networks
 IEEE/ACM Trans. on Networking
, 2000
"... Abstract—In this paper, we present a game theoretic framework for bandwidth allocation for elastic services in highspeed networks. The framework is based on the idea of the Nash bargaining solution from cooperative game theory, which not only provides the rate settings of users that are Pareto opti ..."
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Cited by 178 (5 self)
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Abstract—In this paper, we present a game theoretic framework for bandwidth allocation for elastic services in highspeed networks. The framework is based on the idea of the Nash bargaining solution from cooperative game theory, which not only provides the rate settings of users that are Pareto optimal from the point of view of the whole system, but are also consistent with the fairness axioms of game theory. We first consider the centralized problem and then show that this procedure can be decentralized so that greedy optimization by users yields the system optimal bandwidth allocations. We propose a distributed algorithm for implementing the optimal and fair bandwidth allocation and provide conditions for its convergence. The paper concludes with the pricing of elastic connections based on users ’ bandwidth requirements and users’ budget. We show that the above bargaining framework can be used to characterize a rate allocation and a pricing policy which takes into account users ’ budget in a fair way and such that the total network revenue is maximized. Index Terms—Bandwidth allocation, elastic traffic, game theory, Nash bargaining solution, pricing. I.
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 175 (16 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
Selfish Routing and the Price of Anarchy
, 2005
"... Abstract 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 o ..."
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Cited by 175 (11 self)
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Abstract 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.
Architecting Noncooperative Networks
 IEEE JOURNAL ON SELECTED AREAS IN COMMUNICATIONS
, 1995
"... In noncooperative networks users make control decisions that optimize their own performance measure. Focusing on routing, we devise two methodologies for architecting noncooperative networks, that improve the overall network performance. These methodologies are motivated by problem settings arising ..."
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Cited by 126 (16 self)
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In noncooperative networks users make control decisions that optimize their own performance measure. Focusing on routing, we devise two methodologies for architecting noncooperative networks, that improve the overall network performance. These methodologies are motivated by problem settings arising in the provisioning and the run time phases of the network. For either phase, Nash equilibria characterize the operating point of the network. The goal of the provisioning phase is to allocate link capacities that lead to systemwide efficient Nash equilibria. In general, the solution of such design problems is counterintuitive, since adding link capacity might lead to a degradation of user performance. We show that, for systems of parallel links, such paradoxes cannot occur and the optimal solution coincides with the solution in the singleuser case. We derive some extensions to general network topologies. During the run time phase, a manager controls the routing of part of the network flow. The manager is aware of the noncooperative behavior of the users and makes its routing decisions based on this information while aiming at improving the overall system performance. We obtain necessary and sufficient conditions for enforcing an equilibrium that coincides with the global systemwide optimum, and indicate that these conditions are met in many cases of interest.
Stackelberg scheduling strategies
 In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing
, 2001
"... AbstractWe study the problem of optimizing the performance of a system shared by selfish, noncooperative users. We consider the concrete setting of scheduling jobs on a set of shared machines with loaddependent latency functions specifying the length of time necessary to complete a job; we measure ..."
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Cited by 110 (6 self)
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AbstractWe study the problem of optimizing the performance of a system shared by selfish, noncooperative users. We consider the concrete setting of scheduling jobs on a set of shared machines with loaddependent latency functions specifying the length of time necessary to complete a job; we measure system performance by the total latency of the system. Assigning jobs according to the selfish interests of individual users (who wish to minimize only the latency that their own jobs experience) typically results in suboptimal system performance. However, in many systems of this type there is a mixture of &quot;selfishly controlled &quot; and &quot;centrally controlled &quot; jobs; as the assignment of centrally controlled jobs will influence the subsequent actions by selfish users, we aspire to contain the degradation in system performance due to selfish behavior by scheduling the centrally controlled jobs in the best possible way. We formulate this goal as an optimization problem via Stackelberg games, games in which one player acts a leader (here, the centralized authority interested in optimizing system performance) and the rest as followers (the selfish users). The problem is then to compute a strategy for the leader (a Stackelberg strategy) that induces the followers to react in a way that (at least approximately) minimizes the total latency in the system. In this paper, we prove that it is NPhard to compute the optimal Stackelberg strategy and present simple strategies with provable performance guarantees. More precisely, we give a simple algorithm that computes a strategy inducing a job assignment with total latency no more than a constant times that of the optimal assignment of all of the jobs; in the absence of centrally controlled jobs and a Stackelberg strategy, no result of this type is possible. We also prove stronger performance guarantees in the special case where every machine latency function is linear in the machine load.
Achieving Network Optima Using Stackelberg Routing Strategies
, 1997
"... In noncooperative networks users make control decisions that optimize their individual performance objectives. Nash equilibria characterize the operating points of such networks. Nash equilibria are generically inefficient and exhibit suboptimal network performance. Focusing on routing, a methodolog ..."
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Cited by 105 (13 self)
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In noncooperative networks users make control decisions that optimize their individual performance objectives. Nash equilibria characterize the operating points of such networks. Nash equilibria are generically inefficient and exhibit suboptimal network performance. Focusing on routing, a methodology is devised for overcoming this deficiency, through the intervention of the network manager. The manager controls part of the network flow, is aware of the noncooperative behavior of the users and performs its routing aiming at improving the overall system performance. The existence of maximally efficient strategies for the manager, i.e., strategies that drive the system into the global network optimum, is investigated. A maximally efficient strategy of the manager not only optimizes the overall performance of the network, but also induces an operating point that is efficient with respect to the performance of the individual users (Pareto efficiency). Necessary and sufficient conditions for...
UtilityBased Rate Control in the Internet for Elastic Traffic
, 2002
"... In a communication network, a good rate allocation algorithm should reflect the utilities of the users while being fair. We investigate this fundamental problem of achieving the system optimal rates in the sense of maximizing aggregate utility, in a distributed manner, using only the information ava ..."
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Cited by 70 (3 self)
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In a communication network, a good rate allocation algorithm should reflect the utilities of the users while being fair. We investigate this fundamental problem of achieving the system optimal rates in the sense of maximizing aggregate utility, in a distributed manner, using only the information available at the end hosts of the network. This is done by decomposing the overall system problem into subproblems for the network and for the individual users by introducing a pricing scheme. The users are to solve the problem of maximizing individual net utility, which is the utility less the amount they pay. We provide algorithms for the network to adjust its prices and the users to adjust their window sizes such that at an equilibrium the system optimum is achieved. Further, the equilibrium prices are such that the system optimum achieves weighted proportional fairness. It is notable that the update algorithms of the users do not require any explicit feedback from the network, rendering them easily deployable over the Internet. Our scheme is incentive compatible in that there is no benefit to the users to lie about their utilities.
Designing networks for selfish users is hard
 In Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science
, 2001
"... Abstract We consider a directed network in which every edge possesses a latency function specifying the time needed to traverse the edge given its congestion. Selfish, noncooperative agents constitute the network traffic and wish to travel from a source s to a sink t as quickly as possible. Since th ..."
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Cited by 61 (8 self)
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Abstract We consider a directed network in which every edge possesses a latency function specifying the time needed to traverse the edge given its congestion. Selfish, noncooperative agents constitute the network traffic and wish to travel from a source s to a sink t as quickly as possible. Since the route chosen by one network user affects the congestion (and hence the latency) experienced by others, we model the problem as a noncooperative game. Assuming each agent controls only a negligible portion of the overall traffic, Nash equilibria in this noncooperative game correspond to st flows in which all flow paths have equal latency. A natural measure for the performance of a network used by selfish agents is the common latency experienced by each user in a Nash equilibrium. It is a counterintuitive but wellknown fact that removing edges from a network may improve its performance; the most famous example of this phenomenon is the socalled Braess's Paradox. This fact motivates the following network design problem: given such a network, which edges should be removed to obtain the best possible flow at Nash equilibrium? Equivalently, given a large network of candidate edges to be built, which subnetwork will exhibit the best performance when used selfishly? We give optimal inapproximability results and approximation algorithms for several network design problems of this type. For example, we prove that for networks with n vertices and continuous, nondecreasing latency functions, there is no approximation algorithm for this problem with approximation ratio less than n/2 (unless P = N P). We also prove this hardness result to be best possible by exhibiting an n/2approximation algorithm. For networks in which the latency of each edge is a linear function of the congestion, we prove that there is no ( 43 ffl)approximation algorithm for the problem (for any ffl> 0, unless P = N P); the existence of a 43approximation algorithm follows easily from existing work, proving this hardness result sharp. Moreover, we prove that an optimal approximation algorithm for these problems is what we call the trivial algorithm: given a network of candidate edges, build the entire network. A consequence of this result is that Braess's Paradox (even in its worstpossible manifestation) is impossible to detect efficiently.