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Beyond Routing Games: Network (Formation) Games. Network Games (NG). NG model the various ways in which selfish users (i.e., players) strategically interact in using a (either communication, computer, social , etc.) network

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network games ng
Network Games (NG)
  • NG model the various ways in which selfish users (i.e., players) strategically interact in using a (either communication, computer, social, etc.) network
  • The Internet routing game is a particular type of network congestion game
  • Other examples of NG: social network games, network design games, network creation games, graphical games, etc.
  • Notice that each of these games is actually a class of games, where any element of the class is an instance of the game
introduction
Introduction
  • A GCG is a game that models the design of a communication subnetwork embedded in a given network (i.e., a graph) for a point-to-point communication, with the selfish goal of sharing costs while using it
  • Players:
    • pay for the links they personally use
    • benefit from sharing links with other players in the selected subnetwork
the model
The model
  • G=(V,E): directed graph, k players
  • ce: non-negative cost of e E
  • Player i has a source node si and a sink node ti
  • Strategy for player i: a path Pi from si to ti
  • Let ke denote the load of edge e, i.e., the number of players using e. The cost of Pi for player i in S=(P1,…,Pk) is shared with all the other players using (part of) it, namely:

costi(S) =  ce/ke

ePi

this cost-sharing scheme is called

fair or Shapley cost-sharing mechanism

the model1
The model
  • Given a strategy vector S, the constructed network N(S) is given by the union of all paths Pi
  • Then, the social-choice function (i.e., the total cost of the constructed network) is the following:
  • Notice that each user has a favorable effect on the performance of other users (so-called cross monotonicity), as opposed to the congestion model of selfish routing

C(S)= costi(S) =  ce/ke=  ce

ePi

i

i

eN(S)

setting
Setting
    • What is a stable network?We use NE as the solution concept
  • How to evaluate the overall quality of a stable network? We compare its cost to that of an optimal (in general, unstable) network
  • Our goal: to bound the efficiency loss resulting from selfishness
bounding the loss of efficiency
Bounding the loss of efficiency
  • Remind that a network is optimal or socially efficient if it minimizes the social cost (i.e., it minimizes the social-choice function)
  • We use the PoA to estimate the loss of efficiency we may have in the worst case, as given by the ratio between the cost of a worst stable network and the cost of an optimal network
  • What about the ratio between the cost of a best stable network and the cost of an optimal network?
the price of stability pos
The price of stability (PoS)
  • Definition (Schulz & Moses, 2003): Given a (single-instance) game G and a social-choice function C which depends on the payoff of all the players, let S be the set of all NE. If the payoff represents a cost (resp., a utility) for a player, let OPT be the outcome of G minimizing (resp., maximizing) C. Then, the Price of Stability (PoS) of G w.r.t. C is:
  • Remark: If the game consists of several instances, then its PoS is the maximum/minimum among the PoS of all the instances, depending on whether the payoff for a player is either a cost or a utility.

PoSG(C) =

some remarks
Some remarks
  • PoA and PoS are (for positive s.c.f. C)
    •  1 for minimization problems
    •  1 for maximization problems
  • PoA and PoS are small when they are close to 1
  • PoS is at least as close to 1 than PoA
  • In a game with a unique NE, PoA=PoS
  • Why to study the PoS?
    • sometimes a nontrivial bound is possible only for PoS
    • PoS quantifies the necessary degradation in quality under the game-theoretic constraint of stability
an example
An example

3

s2

1

3

1

1

3

1

2

s1

t2

t1

4

5.5

an example1
An example

3

s2

1

3

1

1

3

1

2

s1

t2

t1

4

5.5

optimal network has cost 12

cost1=7

cost2=5

is it stable?

an example2
An example

3

s2

1

3

1

1

3

1

2

s1

t2

t1

4

5.5

…no!, player 1 can decrease its cost

cost1=5

cost2=8

…yes, and has cost 13!

is it stable?

 PoA  13/12, PoS ≤ 13/12

an example3
An example

3

s2

1

3

1

1

3

1

2

s1

t2

t1

4

5.5

…a best possible NE:

cost1=5

cost2=7.5

the social cost is 12.5  PoS = 12.5/12

Homework: find a worst possible NE

our concerned issues in gcg
Our concerned issues in GCG
  • Does a stable network always exist?
  • Does the repeated version of the game always converge to a stable network?
  • Can we bound the price of anarchy (PoA)?
  • Can we bound the price of stability (PoS)?
slide16

Theorem 1

Any instance of the global connection game has a pure Nash equilibrium, and best response dynamics always converges.

Theorem 2

The PoA in the global connection game with k players is at most k (i.e., every instance of the game has PoA ≤ k), and this is tight (i.e., we can exhibit an instance of the game whose PoA is k).

Theorem 3

The PoS in the global connection game with k players is at most Hk, the k-th harmonic number (i.e., everyinstance of the game has PoS ≤ Hk), and this is tight (i.e., we can exhibit an instance of the game whose PoS is Hk)

slide17

The potential function method

For any finite game, an exact potential function is a

function that maps every strategy vector S to some real value and satisfies the following condition:

  • S=(s1,…,sk), s’isi, let S’=(s1,…,s’i,…,sk), then

(S)-(S’) = costi(S)-costi(S’).

A game that does possess an exact potential function

is called potential game

slide18

Lemma 1

Every potential game has at least one pure Nash equilibrium, namely the strategy vector S that minimizes(S).

Proof: consider any move by a player i that results in a new strategy vector S’. Since (S) is minimum, we have:

(S)-(S’) = costi(S)-costi(S’)

 0

player i cannot decrease its cost, thus S is a NE.

costi(S)  costi(S’)

convergence in potential games
Convergence in potential games

Observation: any state S with the property that (S) cannot be decreased by changing any single component of S is a NE by the same argument. Furthermore, by definition, improving moves for players decrease the value of the potential function. Together, these observations imply the following result.

Lemma 2

In any finite potential game, best response dynamics always converges to a Nash equilibrium

 However, it can be shown that converging to a NE may take an exponential (in the number of players) number of steps!

turning our attention to the global connection game
…turning our attention to the global connection game…

Let  be the following function mapping any strategy vector S to a real value [Rosenthal 1973]:

(S) = eN(S) e(S)

where (recall that ke is the number of players using e)

e(S) = ce · H = ce · (1+1/2+…+1/ke).

ke

slide21

Lemma 3 ( is a potential function)

Let S=(P1,…,Pk), let P’i be an alternative path for some

player i, and define a new strategy vector S’=(S-i,P’i).

Then:

(S) - (S’) = costi(S) – costi(S’).

Proof:

  • When player i switches from Pi to P’i, some edges of N(S) increase their load by 1, some others decrease it by 1, and the remaining do not change it. Then, it suffices to notice that:
  • If load of edge e increases by 1, its contribution to the potential function increases by ce/(ke+1)
  • If load of edge e decreases by 1, its contribution to the potential function decreases by ce/ke
  • (S) -(S’) = (S) -(S-Pi+P’i) = (S)–

((S) - ePi ce/ke + eP’ice/(ke+1))= costi(S) – costi(S’).

existence of a ne
Existence of a NE

Theorem 1

Any instance of the global connection game has

a pure Nash equilibrium, and best response

dynamics always converges.

Proof:From Lemma 3, a GCG is a potential game, and from Lemma 1 and 2 best response dynamics converges to a pure NE.

 However, it can be shown that finding a best response for a player is NP-hard!

price of anarchy a lower bound
Price of Anarchy: a lower bound

k

s1,…,sk

t1,…,tk

1

optimal network has cost 1

best NE: all players use the lower edge

PoS is 1

worst NE: all players use the upper edge

PoA is k

upper bounding the poa

k

k

k

k

i=1

i=1

i=1

i=1

Upper-bounding the PoA

Theorem 2

The price of anarchy in the global connection

game with k players is at most k.

Proof: Let OPT=(P1*,…,Pk*) denote the optimal network, and let i be a shortest path in G between si and ti. Let w(i) be the length of such a path, and let S be any NE. Observe that costi(S)≤w(i) (otherwise the player i would change). Then:

C(S) = costi(S)≤ w(i)≤ w(Pi*)≤

k·costi(OPT) = k·C(OPT).

(since a path is used by at most k players)

pos for gcg a lower bound
PoS for GCG: a lower bound

>o: small value

t1,…,tk

1/k

1/(k-1)

1/3

1

1/2

sk-1

. . .

s1

s2

s3

sk

1+

0

0

0

0

0

pos for gcg a lower bound1
PoS for GCG: a lower bound

>o: small value

t1,…,tk

1/k

1/(k-1)

1/3

1

1/2

sk-1

. . .

s1

s2

s3

sk

1+

0

0

0

0

0

The optimal solution has a cost of 1+

is it stable?

pos for gcg a lower bound2
PoS for GCG: a lower bound

>o: small value

t1,…,tk

1/k

1/(k-1)

1/3

1

1/2

sk-1

. . .

s1

s2

s3

sk

1+

0

0

0

0

0

…no! player k can decrease its cost…

is it stable?

pos for gcg a lower bound3
PoS for GCG: a lower bound

>o: small value

t1,…,tk

1/k

1/(k-1)

1/3

1

1/2

sk-1

. . .

s1

s2

s3

sk

1+

0

0

0

0

0

…no! player k-1 can decrease its cost…

is it stable?

pos for gcg a lower bound4
PoS for GCG: a lower bound

>o: small value

t1,…,tk

1/k

1/(k-1)

1/3

1

1/2

sk-1

. . .

s1

s2

s3

sk

1+

0

0

0

0

0

The only stable network

k

social cost: C(S)=  1/j =Hk  ln k + 1 k-th harmonic number

j=1

slide30

Lemma 4

Suppose that we have a potential game with potential function , and assume that for any outcome S we have

C(S)/A  (S)  B C(S)

for some A,B>0. Then the price of stability is at most AB.

Proof:

Let S’ be the strategy vector minimizing  (i.e., S’ is a NE)

Let S* be the strategy vector minimizing the social cost

we have:

C(S’)/A 

(S’)  (S*)

 B C(S*)

 PoS ≤ C(S’)/C(S*) ≤ A·B.

slide31

Lemma 5 (Bounding  )

For any strategy vector S in the GCG, we have:

C(S)  (S)  Hk C(S).

Proof:Indeed:

(S) = eN(S) e(S) = eN(S) ce· Hke

 (S)  C(S) = eN(S) ce

and (S) ≤ Hk· C(S) = eN(S) ce· Hk.

slide32

Upper-bounding the PoS

Theorem 3

The price of stability in the global connection

game with k players is at most Hk, the k-th

harmonic number.

Proof:From Lemma 3, a GCG is a potential game, and from Lemma 5 and Lemma 4 (with A=1 and B=Hk), its PoS is at most Hk.

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