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Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity

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TR06-067 | 12th April 2006 00:00

On the Impact of Combinatorial Structure on Congestion Games



We study the impact of combinatorial structure in congestion games on the complexity of computing pure Nash equilibria and the convergence time of best response sequences. In particular, we investigate which properties of the strategy spaces of individual players ensure a polynomial convergence time. We show, if the strategy space of each player consists of the bases of a matroid over the set of resources, then the lengths of all best response sequences are polynomially bounded in the number of players and resources. We can also prove that this result is tight, that is, the matroid property is a necessary and sufficient condition on the players' strategy spaces for guaranteeing polynomial time convergence to a Nash equilibrium. In addition, we present an approach that enables us to devise hardness proofs for various kinds of combinatorial games, including first results about the hardness of market sharing games and congestion games for overlay network design. Our approach also yields a short proof for the PLS-completeness of network congestion games.

ISSN 1433-8092 | Imprint