Efficient Black-Box Reductions for Separable Cost Sharing

Authors Tobias Harks, Martin Hoefer, Anja Huber, Manuel Surek

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Tobias Harks
  • Universität Augsburg, Institut für Mathematik, Augsburg, Germany
Martin Hoefer
  • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Institut für Informatik, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Anja Huber
  • Universität Augsburg, Institut für Mathematik, Augsburg, Germany
Manuel Surek
  • Universität Augsburg, Institut für Mathematik, Augsburg, Germany

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Tobias Harks, Martin Hoefer, Anja Huber, and Manuel Surek. Efficient Black-Box Reductions for Separable Cost Sharing. In 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 107, pp. 154:1-154:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


In cost sharing games with delays, a set of agents jointly uses a finite subset of resources. Each resource has a fixed cost that has to be shared by the players, and each agent has a non-shareable player-specific delay for each resource. A prominent example is uncapacitated facility location (UFL), where facilities need to be opened (at a shareable cost) and clients want to connect to opened facilities. Each client pays a cost share and his non-shareable physical connection cost. Given any profile of subsets used by the agents, a separable cost sharing protocol determines cost shares that satisfy budget balance on every resource and separability over the resources. Moreover, a separable protocol guarantees existence of pure Nash equilibria in the induced strategic game for the agents. In this paper, we study separable cost sharing protocols in several general combinatorial domains. We provide black-box reductions to reduce the design of a separable cost sharing protocol to the design of an approximation algorithm for the underlying cost minimization problem. In this way, we obtain new separable cost sharing protocols in games based on arbitrary player-specific matroids, single-source connection games without delays, and connection games on n-series-parallel graphs with delays. All these reductions are efficiently computable - given an initial allocation profile, we obtain a profile of no larger cost and separable cost shares turning the profile into a pure Nash equilibrium. Hence, in these domains any approximation algorithm can be used to obtain a separable cost sharing protocol with a price of stability bounded by the approximation factor.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Algorithmic game theory
  • Theory of computation → Exact and approximate computation of equilibria
  • Theory of computation → Network games
  • Cost Sharing
  • Price of Stability
  • Matroids
  • Connection Games


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