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59
Intrinsic Robustness of the Price of Anarchy
 STOC'09
, 2009
"... The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium ..."
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Cited by 101 (12 self)
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The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium. This drawback motivates the search for inefficiency bounds that apply more generally to weaker notions of equilibria, such as mixed Nash and correlated equilibria; or to sequences of outcomes generated by natural experimentation strategies, such as successive best responses or simultaneous regretminimization. We prove a general and fundamental connection between the price of anarchy and its seemingly stronger relatives in classes of games with a sum objective. First, we identify a “canonical sufficient condition ” for an upper bound of the POA for pure Nash equilibria, which we call a smoothness argument. Second, we show that every bound derived via a smoothness argument extends automatically, with no quantitative degradation in the bound, to mixed Nash equilibria, correlated equilibria, and the average objective function value of regretminimizing players (or “price of total anarchy”). Smoothness arguments also have automatic implications for the inefficiency of approximate and BayesianNash equilibria and, under mild additional assumptions, for bicriteria bounds and for polynomiallength bestresponse sequences. We also identify classes of games — most notably, congestion games with cost functions restricted to an arbitrary fixed set — that are tight, in the sense that smoothness arguments are guaranteed to produce an optimal worstcase upper bound on the POA, even for the smallest set of interest (pure Nash equilibria). Byproducts of our proof of this result include the first tight bounds on the POA in congestion games with nonpolynomial cost functions, and the first
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 58 (7 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].
Welfare Guarantees for Combinatorial Auctions with Item Bidding
, 2010
"... We analyze the price of anarchy (POA) in a simple and practical nontruthful combinatorial auction when players have subadditive valuations for goods. We study the mechanism that sells every good in parallel with separate secondprice auctions. We first prove that under a standard “no overbidding ” ..."
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Cited by 39 (5 self)
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We analyze the price of anarchy (POA) in a simple and practical nontruthful combinatorial auction when players have subadditive valuations for goods. We study the mechanism that sells every good in parallel with separate secondprice auctions. We first prove that under a standard “no overbidding ” assumption, for every subadditive valuation profile, every pure Nash equilibrium has welfare at least 50 % of optimal — i.e., the POA is at most 2. For the incomplete information setting, we prove that the POA with respect to BayesNash equilibria is strictly larger than 2 — an unusual separation from the fullinformation model — and is at most 2 ln m, where m is the number of goods.
Multiplicative Updates Outperform Generic NoRegret . . .
, 2009
"... We study the outcome of natural learning algorithms in atomic congestion games. Atomic congestion games have a wide variety of equilibria often with vastly differing social costs. We show that in almost all such games, the wellknown multiplicativeweights learning algorithm results in convergence to ..."
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Cited by 29 (8 self)
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We study the outcome of natural learning algorithms in atomic congestion games. Atomic congestion games have a wide variety of equilibria often with vastly differing social costs. We show that in almost all such games, the wellknown multiplicativeweights learning algorithm results in convergence to pure equilibria. Our results show that natural learning behavior can avoid bad outcomes predicted by the price of anarchy in atomic congestion games such as the loadbalancing game introduced by Koutsoupias and Papadimitriou, which has superconstant price of anarchy and has correlated equilibria that are exponentially worse than any mixed Nash equilibrium. Our results identify a set of mixed Nash equilibria that we call weakly stable equilibria. Our notion of weakly stable is defined gametheoretically, but we show that this property holds whenever a stability criterion from the theory of dynamical systems is satisfied. This allows us to show that in every congestion game, the distribution of play converges to the set of weakly stable equilibria. Pure Nash equilibria are weakly stable, and we show using techniques from algebraic geometry that the converse is true with probability 1 when congestion costs are selected at random independently on each edge (from any monotonically parametrized distribution). We further extend our results to show that players can use algorithms with different (sufficiently small) learning rates, i.e. they can trade off convergence speed and long term average regret differently.
The Price of Anarchy in Games of Incomplete Information
 EC'12
, 2012
"... We define smooth games of incomplete information. We prove an “extension theorem” for such games: price of anarchy bounds for pure Nash equilibria for all induced fullinformation games extend automatically, without quantitative degradation, to all mixedstrategy BayesNash equilibria with respect t ..."
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Cited by 25 (2 self)
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We define smooth games of incomplete information. We prove an “extension theorem” for such games: price of anarchy bounds for pure Nash equilibria for all induced fullinformation games extend automatically, without quantitative degradation, to all mixedstrategy BayesNash equilibria with respect to a product prior distribution over players’ preferences. We also note that, for BayesNash equilibria in games with correlated player preferences, there is no general extension theorem for smooth games. We give several applications of our definition and extension theorem. First, we show that many games of incomplete information for which the price of anarchy has been studied are smooth in our sense. Thus our extension theorem unifies much of the known work on the price of anarchy in games of incomplete information. Second, we use our extension theorem to prove new bounds on the price of anarchy of BayesNash equilibria in congestion games with incomplete information.
GSP auctions with correlated types
 In Proceedings of the 12th Annual ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC
, 2011
"... The Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary method by which sponsered search advertisements are sold. We study the performance of this auction in the Bayesian setting for players with correlated types. Correlation arises very naturally in the context of sponsored search auctions, espec ..."
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Cited by 22 (5 self)
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The Generalized Second Price (GSP) auction is the primary method by which sponsered search advertisements are sold. We study the performance of this auction in the Bayesian setting for players with correlated types. Correlation arises very naturally in the context of sponsored search auctions, especiallyasaresultofuncertaintyinherentinthebehaviour of the underlying ad allocation algorithm. We demonstrate that the Bayesian Price of Anarchy of the GSP auction is bounded by 4, even when agents have arbitrarily correlated types. Our proof highlights a connection between the GSP mechanism and the concept of smoothness in games, which may be of independent interest. For the special case of uncorrelated (i.e. independent) agent types, we improve our bound to 2(1−1/e) −1 ≈ 3.16, significantly improving upon previously known bounds. Using our techniques, we obtain the same bound on the performanceofGSPatcoarsecorrelatedequilibria, whichcaptures (for example) a repeatedauction setting in which agents apply regretminimizing bidding strategies. Moreoever, our analysis is robust against the presence of irrational bidders and settings of asymmetric information, and our bounds degrade gracefully when agents apply strategies that form only an approximate equilibrium.
Distributed Algorithms for Approximating Wireless Network Capacity
"... Abstract—In this paper we consider the problem of maximizing wireless network capacity (a.k.a. oneshot scheduling) in both the protocol and physical models. We give the first distributed algorithms with provable guarantees in the physical model, and show how they can be generalized to more complica ..."
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Cited by 20 (2 self)
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Abstract—In this paper we consider the problem of maximizing wireless network capacity (a.k.a. oneshot scheduling) in both the protocol and physical models. We give the first distributed algorithms with provable guarantees in the physical model, and show how they can be generalized to more complicated metrics and settings in which the physical assumptions are slightly violated. We also give the first algorithms in the protocol model that do not assume transmitters can coordinate with their neighbors in the interference graph, so every transmitter chooses whether to broadcast based purely on local events. Our techniques draw heavily from algorithmic game theory and machine learning theory, even though our goal is a distributed algorithm. Indeed, our main results allow every transmitter to run any algorithm it wants, so long as its algorithm has a learningtheoretic property known as noregret in a gametheoretic setting. I.
Local Smoothness and the Price of Anarchy in Atomic Splittable Congestion Games
"... We resolve the worstcase price of anarchy (POA) of atomic splittable congestion games. Prior to this work, no tight bounds on the POA in such games were known, even for the simplest nontrivial special case of affine cost functions. We make two distinct contributions. On the upperbound side, we def ..."
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Cited by 20 (3 self)
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We resolve the worstcase price of anarchy (POA) of atomic splittable congestion games. Prior to this work, no tight bounds on the POA in such games were known, even for the simplest nontrivial special case of affine cost functions. We make two distinct contributions. On the upperbound side, we define the framework of “local smoothness”, which refines the standard smoothness framework for games with convex strategy sets. While standard smoothness arguments cannot establish tight bounds on the POA in atomic splittable congestion games, we prove that local smoothness arguments can. Further, we prove that every POA bound derived via local smoothness applies automatically to every correlated equilibrium of the game. Unlike standard smoothness arguments, bounds proved using local smoothness do not always apply to the coarse correlated equilibria of the game. Our second contribution is a very general lower bound: for every set L that satisfies mild technical conditions, the worstcase POA of pure Nash equilibria in atomic splittable congestion games with cost functions in L is exactly the smallest upper bound provable using local smoothness arguments. In particular, the worstcase POA of pure Nash equilibria, mixed Nash equilibria, and correlated equilibria coincide in such games. 1
The Price of Malice in Linear Congestion Games
, 2008
"... We study the price of malice in linear congestion games using the technique of noregret analysis in the presence of Byzantine players. Our assumptions about the behavior both of rational players, and of malicious players are strictly weaker than have been previously used to study the price of malic ..."
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Cited by 18 (2 self)
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We study the price of malice in linear congestion games using the technique of noregret analysis in the presence of Byzantine players. Our assumptions about the behavior both of rational players, and of malicious players are strictly weaker than have been previously used to study the price of malice. Rather than assuming that rational players route their flow according to a Nash equilibrium, we assume only that the play so as to have no regret. Rather than assuming that malicious players myopically seek to maximize the social cost of the game, we study Byzantine players about whom we make no assumptions, who may be seeking to optimize any utility function, and who may engage in an arbitrary degree of counterspeculation. Because our assumptions are strictly weaker than in previous work, the bounds we prove on two measures of the price of malice hold also for the quantities studied by Babaioff et al. [2] and Moscibroda et al. [17] We prove tight bounds both for the special case of parallel link routing games, and for general congestion games.