Designing Networks with Good Equilibria under Uncertainty



Christodoulou, George and Sgouritsa, Alkmini
(2019) Designing Networks with Good Equilibria under Uncertainty. SIAM Journal on Computing, 48 (4). 1364 - 1396.

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Abstract

We consider the problem of designing network cost-sharing protocols with good equilibria under uncertainty. The underlying game is a multicast game in a rooted undirected graph with nonnegative edge costs. A set of $k$ terminal vertices or players needs to establish connectivity with the root. The social optimum is the minimum Steiner tree. We study situations where the designer has incomplete information about the input. We propose two different models, the adversarial and the stochastic. In both models, the designer has prior knowledge of the underlying graph metric, but the requested subset of the players is not known and is activated either in an adversarial manner (adversarial model) or is drawn from a known probability distribution (stochastic model). In the adversarial model, the goal of the designer is to choose a single, universal cost-sharing protocol that has low Price of Anarchy (PoA) for all possible requested subsets of players. The main question we address is, to what extent can prior knowledge of the underlying graph metric help in the design? We first demonstrate that there exist classes of graphs where knowledge of the underlying graph metric can dramatically improve the performance of good network cost-sharing design. For outerplanar graph metrics, we provide a universal cost-sharing protocol with constant PoA, in contrast to protocols that, by ignoring the graph metric, cannot achieve PoA better than $\Omega(\log k)$. Then, in our main technical result, we show that there exist graph metrics for which knowing the underlying graph metric does not help and any universal protocol has PoA of $\Omega(\log k)$, which is tight. We attack this problem by developing new techniques that employ powerful tools from extremal combinatorics, and more specifically Ramsey theory in high-dimensional hypercubes. Then we switch to the stochastic model, where the players are activated according to some probability distribution that is known to the designer. We show that there exists a randomized ordered protocol that achieves constant PoA. If, further, each player is activated independently with some probability, by using standard derandomization techniques, we produce a deterministic ordered protocol that achieves constant PoA. We remark that the first result holds also for the black-box model, where the probabilities are not known to the designer, but she is allowed to draw independent (polynomially many) samples. Read More: https://epubs.siam.org/doi/10.1137/16M1096694

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Price of anarchy, network design, cost-sharing, online algorithms
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 15:40
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2022 02:13
DOI: 10.1137/16M1096694
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3046878