Network creation games investigate complex networks from a game-theoretic point of view. Based on the original model by Fabrikant et al. [PODC’03] many variants have been introduced. However, almost all versions have the drawback that edges are treated uniformly, i.e. every edge has the same cost and that this common parameter heavily influences the outcomes and the analysis of these games. We propose and analyze simple and natural parameter-free network creation games with non-uniform edge cost. Our models are inspired by social networks where the cost of forming a link is proportional to the popularity of the targeted node. Besides results on the complexity of computing a best response and on various properties of the sequential versions, we show that the most general version of our model has con- stant Price of Anarchy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first proof of a constant Price of Anarchy for any network creation game.
Friedrich, Tobias; Ihde, Sven; Keßler, Christoph; Lenzner, Pascal; Neubert, Stefan; Schumann, DavidEfficient Best Response Computation for Strategic Network Formation under Attack. Symposium on Algorithmic Game Theory (SAGT) 2017: 199-211
Inspired by real world examples, e.g. the Internet, researchers have introduced an abundance of strategic games to study natural phenomena in networks. Unfortunately, almost all of these games have the conceptual drawback of being computationally intractable, i.e. computing a best response strategy or checking if an equilibrium is reached is NP-hard. Thus, a main challenge in the field is to find tractable realistic network formation models. We address this challenge by investigating a very recently introduced model by Goyal et al. [WINE'16] which focuses on robust networks in the presence of a strong adversary who attacks (and kills) nodes in the network and lets this attack spread virus-like to neighboring nodes and their neighbors. Our main result is to establish that this natural model is one of the few exceptions which are both realistic and computationally tractable. In particular, we answer an open question of Goyal et al. by providing an efficient algorithm for computing a best response strategy, which implies that deciding whether the game has reached a Nash equilibrium can be done efficiently as well. Our algorithm essentially solves the problem of computing a minimal connection to a network which maximizes the reachability while hedging against severe attacks on the network infrastructure and may thus be of independent interest.
Chauhan, Ankit; Lenzner, Pascal; Melnichenko, Anna; Münn, MartinOn Selfish Creation of Robust Networks. Symposium on Algorithmic Game Theory (SAGT) 2016: 141-152
Robustness is one of the key properties of nowadays networks. However, robustness cannot be simply enforced by design or regulation since many important networks, most prominently the Internet, are not created and controlled by a central authority. Instead, Internet-like networks emerge from strategic decisions of many selfish agents. Interestingly, although lacking a coordinating authority, such naturally grown networks are surprisingly robust while at the same time having desirable properties like a small diameter. To investigate this phenomenon we present the first simple model for selfish network creation which explicitly incorporates agents striving for a central position in the network while at the same time protecting themselves against random edge-failure. We show that networks in our model are diverse and we prove the versatility of our model by adapting various properties and techniques from the non-robust versions which we then use for establishing bounds on the Price of Anarchy. Moreover, we analyze the computational hardness of finding best possible strategies and investigate the game dynamics of our model.
Lenzner, PascalOn Dynamics in Basic Network Creation Games. Symposium on Algorithmic Game Theory (SAGT) 2011: 254-265
We initiate the study of game dynamics in the Sum Basic Network Creation Game, which was recently introduced by Alon et al.[SPAA'10]. In this game players are associated to vertices in a graph and are allowed to "swap" edges, that is to remove an incident edge and insert a new incident edge. By performing such moves, every player tries to minimize her connection cost, which is the sum of distances to all other vertices. When played on a tree, we prove that this game admits an ordinal potential function, which implies guaranteed convergence to a pure Nash Equilibrium. We show a cubic upper bound on the number of steps needed for any improving response dynamic to converge to a stable tree and propose and analyse a best response dynamic, where the players having the highest cost are allowed to move. For this dynamic we show an almost tight linear upper bound for the convergence speed. Furthermore, we contrast these positive results by showing that, when played on general graphs, this game allows best response cycles. This implies that there cannot exist an ordinal potential function and that fundamentally different techniques are required for analysing this case. For computing a best response we show a similar contrast: On the one hand we give a linear-time algorithm for computing a best response on trees even if players are allowed to swap multiple edges at a time. On the other hand we prove that this task is NP-hard even on simple general graphs, if more than one edge can be swapped at a time. The latter addresses a proposal by Alon et al..
Our research focus is on theoretical computer science and algorithm engineering. We are equally interested in the mathematical foundations of algorithms and developing efficient algorithms in practice. A special focus is on random structures and methods.