Competitive Packet Routing with Priority Lists

Authors Tobias Harks, Britta Peis, Daniel Schmand, Laura Vargas Koch

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Tobias Harks
Britta Peis
Daniel Schmand
Laura Vargas Koch

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Tobias Harks, Britta Peis, Daniel Schmand, and Laura Vargas Koch. Competitive Packet Routing with Priority Lists. In 41st International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 58, pp. 49:1-49:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


In competitive packet routing games, packets are routed selfishly through a network and scheduling policies at edges determine which packages are forwarded first if there is not enough capacity on an edge to forward all packages at once. We analyze the impact of priority lists on the worst-case quality of pure Nash equilibria. A priority list is an ordered list of players that may or may not depend on the edge. Whenever the number of packets entering an edge exceeds the inflow capacity, packets are processed in list order. We derive several new bounds on the price of anarchy and stability for global and local priority policies. We also consider the question of the complexity of computing an optimal priority list. It turns out that even for very restricted cases, i.e., for routing on a tree, the computation of an optimal priority list is APX-hard.
  • packet routing
  • Nash equilibrium
  • price of anarchy
  • priority policy
  • complexity


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