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Routing without regret: On convergence to nash equilibria of regretminimizing algorithms in routing games
 In PODC
, 2006
"... Abstract There has been substantial work developing simple, efficient noregret algorithms for a wideclass of repeated decisionmaking problems including online routing. These are adaptive strategies an individual can use that give strong guarantees on performance even in adversariallychanging envi ..."
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Cited by 59 (6 self)
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Abstract There has been substantial work developing simple, efficient noregret algorithms for a wideclass of repeated decisionmaking problems including online routing. These are adaptive strategies an individual can use that give strong guarantees on performance even in adversariallychanging environments. There has also been substantial work on analyzing properties of Nash equilibria in routing games. In this paper, we consider the question: if each player in a routing game uses a noregret strategy, will behavior converge to a Nash equilibrium? In general games the answer to this question is known to be no in a strong sense, but routing games havesubstantially more structure. In this paper we show that in the Wardrop setting of multicommodity flow and infinitesimalagents, behavior will approach Nash equilibrium (formally, on most days, the cost of the flow will be close to the cost of the cheapest paths possible given that flow) at a rate that dependspolynomially on the players ' regret bounds and the maximum slope of any latency function. We also show that priceofanarchy results may be applied to these approximate equilibria, and alsoconsider the finitesize (noninfinitesimal) loadbalancing model of Azar [2].
Fast convergence to Wardrop equilibria by adaptive sampling methods
 in Proc. 38th Ann. ACM. Symp. on Theory of Comput. (STOC
, 2006
"... We study rerouting policies in a dynamic roundbased variant of a well known game theoretic traffic model due to Wardrop. Previous analyses (mostly in the context of selfish routing) based on Wardrop’s model focus mostly on the static analysis of equilibria. In this paper, we ask the question whethe ..."
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Cited by 50 (6 self)
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We study rerouting policies in a dynamic roundbased variant of a well known game theoretic traffic model due to Wardrop. Previous analyses (mostly in the context of selfish routing) based on Wardrop’s model focus mostly on the static analysis of equilibria. In this paper, we ask the question whether the population of agents responsible for routing the traffic can jointly compute or better learn a Wardrop equilibrium efficiently. The rerouting policies that we study are of the following kind. In each round, each agent samples an alternative routing path and compares the latency on this path with its current latency. If the agent observes that it can improve its latency then it switches with some probability depending on the possible improvement to the better path. We can show various positive results based on a rerouting policy using an adaptive sampling rule that implicitly amplifies paths that carry a large amount of traffic in the Wardrop equilibrium. For general asymmetric games, we show that a simple replication protocol in which agents adopt strategies of more successful agents reaches a certain kind of bicriteria equilibrium within a time bound that is independent of the size and the structure of the network but only depends on a parameter of the latency functions, that we call the relative slope. For symmetric games, this result has an intuitive interpretation: Replication approximately satisfies almost everyone very quickly. In order to achieve convergence to a Wardrop equilibrium besides replication one also needs an exploration component discovering possibly unused strategies. We present a
REPLEX — Dynamic traffic engineering based on Wardrop routing policies
 In Proc. 2nd Conference on Future Networking Technologies (CoNext
, 2006
"... One major challenge in communication networks is the problem of dynamically distributing load in the presence of bursty and hard to predict changes in traffic demands. Current traffic engineering operates on time scales of several hours which is too slow to react to phenomena like flash crowds or BG ..."
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Cited by 38 (4 self)
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One major challenge in communication networks is the problem of dynamically distributing load in the presence of bursty and hard to predict changes in traffic demands. Current traffic engineering operates on time scales of several hours which is too slow to react to phenomena like flash crowds or BGP reroutes. One possible solution is to use load sensitive routing. Yet, interacting routing decisions at short time scales can lead to oscillations, which has prevented load sensitive routing from being deployed since the early experiences in Arpanet. However, recent theoretical results have devised a game theoretical rerouting policy that provably avoids such oscillation and in addition can be shown to converge quickly. In this paper we present REPLEX, a distributed dynamic traffic engineering algorithm based on this policy. Exploiting the fact that most underlying routing protocols support multiple equalcost routes to a destination, it dynamically changes the proportion of traffic that is routed along each path. These proportions are carefully adapted utilising information from periodic measurements and, optionally, information exchanged between the routers about the traffic condition along the path. We evaluate the algorithm via simulations employing traffic loads that mimic actual Web traffic, i. e., bursty TCP traffic, and whose characteristics are consistent with selfsimilarity. The simulations quickly converge and do not exhibit significant oscillations on both artificial as well as real topologies, as can be expected from the theoretical results.
Tight Bounds for Parallel Randomized Load Balancing
 Computing Research Repository
, 1992
"... We explore the fundamental limits of distributed ballsintobins algorithms, i.e., algorithms where balls act in parallel, as separate agents. This problem was introduced by Adler et al., who showed that nonadaptive and symmetric algorithms cannot reliably perform better than a maximum bin load of Θ ..."
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Cited by 18 (7 self)
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We explore the fundamental limits of distributed ballsintobins algorithms, i.e., algorithms where balls act in parallel, as separate agents. This problem was introduced by Adler et al., who showed that nonadaptive and symmetric algorithms cannot reliably perform better than a maximum bin load of Θ(loglogn/logloglogn) within the same number of rounds. We present an adaptive symmetric algorithm that achieves a bin load of two in log ∗ n + O(1) communication rounds using O(n) messages in total. Moreover, larger bin loads can be traded in for smaller time complexities. We prove a matching lower bound of (1−o(1))log ∗ n on the time complexity of symmetric algorithms that guarantee small bin loads at an asymptotically optimal message complexity of O(n). The essential preconditions of the proof are (i) a limit of O(n) on the total number of messages sent by the algorithm and (ii) anonymity of bins, i.e., the port numberings of balls are not globally consistent. In order to show that our technique yields indeed tight bounds, we provide for each assumption an algorithm violating it, in turn achieving a constant maximum bin load in constant time. As an application, we consider the following problem. Given a fully connected graph of n nodes, where each node needs to send and receive up to n messages, and in each round each node may send one message over each link, deliver all messages as quickly as possible to their destinations. We give a simple and robust algorithm of time complexity O(log ∗ n) for this task and provide a generalization to the case where all nodes initially hold arbitrary sets of messages. Completing the picture, we give a less practical, but asymptotically optimal algorithm terminating within O(1) rounds. All these bounds hold with high probability.
Load balancing via random local search in closed and open systems
 In Proc. of SIGMETRICS
, 2010
"... In this paper, we analyze the performance of random load resampling and migration strategies in parallel server systems. Clients initially attach to an arbitrary server, but may switch servers independently at random instants of time in an attempt to improve their service rate. This approach to load ..."
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Cited by 10 (0 self)
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In this paper, we analyze the performance of random load resampling and migration strategies in parallel server systems. Clients initially attach to an arbitrary server, but may switch servers independently at random instants of time in an attempt to improve their service rate. This approach to load balancing contrasts with traditional approaches where clients make smart server selections upon arrival (e.g., JointheShortestQueue policy and variants thereof). Load resampling is particularly relevant in scenarios where clients cannot predict the load of a server before being actually attached to it. An important example is in wireless spectrum sharing where clients try to share a set of frequency bands in a distributed manner. We first analyze the natural Random Local Search (RLS)
Distributed Algorithms for QoS Load Balancing ∗
"... We consider a dynamic load balancing scenario in which users allocate resources in a noncooperative and selfish fashion. The perceived performance of a resource for a user decreases with the number of users that allocate the resource. In our dynamic, concurrent model, users may reallocate resources ..."
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Cited by 8 (2 self)
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We consider a dynamic load balancing scenario in which users allocate resources in a noncooperative and selfish fashion. The perceived performance of a resource for a user decreases with the number of users that allocate the resource. In our dynamic, concurrent model, users may reallocate resources in a roundbased fashion. As opposed to various settings analyzed in the literature, we assume that users have quality of service (QoS) demands. A user has zero utility when falling short of a certain minimum performance threshold and having positive utility otherwise. Whereas various loadbalancing protocols have been proposed for the setting without quality of service requirements, we consider protocols that satisfy an additional locality constraint: The behavior of a user depends merely on the state of the resource it currently allocates. This property is particularly useful in scenarios where the state of other resources is not readily accessible. For instance, if resources represent channels in a mobile network, then accessing channel information may require timeintensive measurements. We consider several variants of the model, where the quality of service demands may depend on the user, the resource, or both. For all cases we present protocols for which the dynamics converge to a state in which all users are satisfied. More importantly, the time to reach such a state scales nicely. It is only logarithmic in the number of users, which makes our protocols applicable in largescale systems.
Atomic congestion games: fast, myopic and concurrent
"... We study here the effect of concurrent greedy moves of players in atomic congestion games where n selfish agents (players) wish to select a resource each (out of m resources) so that her selfish delay there is not much. Such games usually admit a global potential that decreases by sequential and se ..."
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Cited by 7 (0 self)
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We study here the effect of concurrent greedy moves of players in atomic congestion games where n selfish agents (players) wish to select a resource each (out of m resources) so that her selfish delay there is not much. Such games usually admit a global potential that decreases by sequential and selfishly improving moves. However, concurrent moves may not always lead to global convergence. On the other hand, concurrent play is desirable because it might essentially improve the system convergence time to some balanced state. The problem of “maintaining ” global progress while allowing concurrent play is exactly what is examined and answered here. We examine two orthogonal settings: (i) A game where the players decide their moves without global information, each acting “freely ” by sampling resources randomly and locally deciding to migrate (if the new resource is better) via a random experiment. Here, the resources can have quite arbitrary latency that is load dependent. (ii) An “organised” setting where the players are prepartitioned into selfish groups (coalitions) and where each coalition does an improving coalitional move. Here the concurrency is among the members of the coalition. In this second setting, the resources have latency functions that are only linearly dependent on the load, since this is the only case so far where a global potential exists. In both cases (i), (ii) we show that the system converges to an “approximate” equilibrium very fast (in
Distributed Selfish Load Balancing on Networks
"... We study distributed load balancing in networks with selfish agents. In the simplest model considered here, there are n identical machines represented by vertices in a network and m ≫ n selfish agents that unilaterally decide to move from one vetex to another if this improves their experienced load. ..."
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Cited by 6 (2 self)
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We study distributed load balancing in networks with selfish agents. In the simplest model considered here, there are n identical machines represented by vertices in a network and m ≫ n selfish agents that unilaterally decide to move from one vetex to another if this improves their experienced load. We present several protocols for concurrent migration that satisfy desirable properties such as being based only on local information and computation and the absence of global coordination or cooperation of agents. Our main contribution is to show rapid convergence of the resulting migration process to states that satisfy different stability or balance criteria. In particular, the convergence time to a Nash equilibrium is only logarithmic in m and polynomial in n, where the polynomial depends on the graph structure. Using a slight modification with neutral moves, a perfectly balanced state can be reached after additional time polynomial in n. Inaddition, we show reduced convergence times to approximate Nash equilibria. Finally, we extend our results to networks of machines with different speeds or to agents that have different weights and show similar results for convergence to approximate and exact Nash equilibria. 1
Approximating Wardrop Equilibria with Finitely Many Agents
"... We present efficient algorithms for computing approximate Wardrop equilibria in a distributed and concurrent fashion. Our algorithms are exexuted by a finite number of agents each of which controls the flow of one commodity striving to balance the induced latency over all utilised paths. The set of ..."
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Cited by 6 (3 self)
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We present efficient algorithms for computing approximate Wardrop equilibria in a distributed and concurrent fashion. Our algorithms are exexuted by a finite number of agents each of which controls the flow of one commodity striving to balance the induced latency over all utilised paths. The set of allowed paths is represented by a DAG. Our algorithms are based on previous work on policies for infinite populations of agents. These policies achieve a convergence time which is independent of the underlying network and depends mildly on the latency functions. These policies can neither be applied to a finite set of agents nor can they be simulated directly due to the exponential number of paths. Our algorithms circumvent these problems by computing a randomised path decomposition in every communication round. Based on this decomposition, flow is shifted from overloaded to underloaded paths. This way, our algorithm can handle exponentially large path collections in polynomial time. Our algorithms are stateless, and the number of communication rounds depends polynomially on the approximation quality and is independent of the topology and size of the network.
Load balancing for dynamic spectrum assignment with local information for secondary users
 In Proc. Symp. Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN
, 2008
"... Abstract—In this paper we study an idealized model of load balancing for dynamic spectrum allocation (DSA) for secondary users using only local information. In our model, each agent is assigned to a channel and may reassign its load in a round based fashion. We present a randomized protocol in which ..."
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Cited by 4 (2 self)
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Abstract—In this paper we study an idealized model of load balancing for dynamic spectrum allocation (DSA) for secondary users using only local information. In our model, each agent is assigned to a channel and may reassign its load in a round based fashion. We present a randomized protocol in which the actions of the agents depend purely on some cost measure (e. g., latency, inverse of the throughput, etc.) of the currently chosen channel. Since agents act concurrently, the system is prone to oscillations. We show how this can be avoided guaranteeing convergence towards a state in which every agent sustains at most a certain threshold cost (if such a state exists). We show that the system converges quickly by giving bounds on the convergence time towards approximately balanced states. Our analysis in the fluid limit (where the number of agents approaches infinity) holds for a large class of cost functions. We support our theoretical analysis by simulations to determine the dependence on the number of agents. It turns out that the number of agents affects the convergence time only in a logarithmic fashion. The work shows under quite general assumptions that even an extremely large number of users using several hundreds of (virtual) channels can work in a DSA fashion. I.