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Approximate Equilibria and Ball Fusion
 Theory of Computing Systems
, 2002
"... We consider sel sh routing over a network consisting of m parallel links through which n sel sh users route their tra c trying to minimize their own expected latency. Westudy the class of mixed strategies in which the expected latency through each link is at most a constant multiple of the optimum m ..."
Abstract

Cited by 56 (23 self)
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We consider sel sh routing over a network consisting of m parallel links through which n sel sh users route their tra c trying to minimize their own expected latency. Westudy the class of mixed strategies in which the expected latency through each link is at most a constant multiple of the optimum maximum latency had global regulation been available. For the case of uniform links it is known that all Nash equilibria belong to this class of strategies. We areinterested in bounding the coordination ratio (or price of anarchy) of these strategies de ned as the worstcase ratio of the maximum (over all links) expected latency over the optimum maximum latency. The load balancing aspect of the problem immediately implies a lower bound; lnm ln lnm of the coordination ratio. We give a tight (uptoamultiplicative constant) upper bound. To show the upper bound, we analyze a variant ofthe classical balls and bins problem, in which balls with arbitrary weights are placed into bins according to arbitrary probability distributions. At the heart of our approach is a new probabilistic tool that we call