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On Dynamics in Selfish Network Creation

By Bernd Kawald and Pascal Lenzner


We consider the dynamic behavior of several variants of the Network Creation Game, introduced by Fabrikant et al. [PODC’03]. Equilibrium networks in these models have desirable properties like low social cost and small diameter, which makes them attractive for the decentralized creation of overlay-networks. Unfortunately, due to the nonconstructiveness of the Nash equilibrium, no distributed algorithm for finding such networks is known. We treat these games as sequential-move games and analyze if (uncoordinated) selfish play eventually converges to an equilibrium. Thus, we shed light on one of the most natural algorithms for this problem: distributed local search, where in each step some agent performs a myopic selfish improving move. We show that fast convergence is guaranteed for all versions of Swap Games, introduced by Alon et al. [SPAA’10], if the initial network is a tree. Furthermore, we prove that this process can be sped up to an almost optimal number of moves by employing a very natural move policy. Unfortunately, these positive results are no longer true if the initial network has cycles and we show the surprising result that even one non-tree edge suffices to destroy the convergence guarantee. This answers an open problem from Ehsani et al. [SPAA’11] in the negative. Moreover, we show that on non-tree networks no move policy can enforce convergence. We extend our negative results to the well-studied original version, where agents are allowed to buy and delete edges as well. For this model we prove that there is no convergence guarantee – even if all agents play optimally. Even worse, if played on a non-complete host-graph, then there are instances where no sequence of improving moves leads to a stable network. Furthermore, we analyze whether cost-sharing has positive impact on the convergence behavior. For this we consider a version by Corbo and Parkes [PODC’05] where bilateral consent is needed for the creation of an edge and where edge-costs are shared among the involved agents. We show that employing such a cost-sharing rule yields even worse dynamic behavior

Year: 2013
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