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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 55, 43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016)

We study competition in a general framework introduced by Immorlica, Kalai, Lucier, Moitra, Postlewaite, and Tennenholtz and answer their main open question. Immorlica et al. considered classic optimization problems in terms of competition and introduced a general class of games called dueling games. They model this competition as a zero-sum game, where two players are competing for a user’s satisfaction. In their main and most natural game, the ranking duel, a user requests a webpage by submitting a query and players output an ordering over all possible webpages based on the submitted query. The user tends to choose the ordering which displays her requested webpage in a higher rank. The goal of both players is to maximize the probability that her ordering beats that of her opponent and gets the user's attention. Immorlica et al. show this game directs both players to provide suboptimal search results. However, they leave the following as their main open question: "does competition between algorithms improve or degrade expected performance?" (see the introduction for more quotes) In this paper, we resolve this question for the ranking duel and a more general class of dueling games.
More precisely, we study the quality of orderings in a competition between two players. This game is a zero-sum game, and thus any Nash equilibrium of the game can be described by minimax strategies. Let the value of the user for an ordering be a function of the position of her requested item in the corresponding ordering, and the social welfare for an ordering be the expected value of the corresponding ordering for the user. We propose the price of competition which is the ratio of the social welfare for the worst minimax strategy to the social welfare obtained by asocial planner. Finding the price of competition is another approach to obtain structural results of Nash equilibria. We use this criterion for analyzing the quality of orderings in the ranking duel. Although Immorlica et al. show that the competition leads to suboptimal strategies, we prove the quality of minimax results is surprisingly close to that of the optimum solution. In particular, via a novel factor-revealing LP for computing price of anarchy, we prove if the value of the user for an ordering is a linear function of its position, then the price of competition is at least 0.612 and bounded above by 0.833. Moreover we consider the cost minimization version of the problem. We prove, the social cost of the worst minimax strategy is at most 3 times the optimal social cost.
Last but not least, we go beyond linear valuation functions and capture the main challenge for bounding the price of competition for any arbitrary valuation function. We present a principle which states that the lower bound for the price of competition for all 0-1 valuation functions is the same as the lower bound for the price of competition for all possible valuation functions. It is worth mentioning that this principle not only works for the ranking duel but also for all dueling games. This principle says, in any dueling game, the most challenging part of bounding the price of competition is finding a lower bound for 0-1 valuation functions. We leverage this principle to show that the price of competition is at least 0.25 for the generalized ranking duel.

Sina Dehghani, Mohammad Taghi Hajiaghayi, Hamid Mahini, and Saeed Seddighin. Price of Competition and Dueling Games. In 43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 55, pp. 21:1-21:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{dehghani_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2016.21, author = {Dehghani, Sina and Hajiaghayi, Mohammad Taghi and Mahini, Hamid and Seddighin, Saeed}, title = {{Price of Competition and Dueling Games}}, booktitle = {43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016)}, pages = {21:1--21:14}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-013-2}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {55}, editor = {Chatzigiannakis, Ioannis and Mitzenmacher, Michael and Rabani, Yuval and Sangiorgi, Davide}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2016.21}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-63009}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2016.21}, annote = {Keywords: POC, POA, Dueling games, Nash equilibria, sponsored search} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 3, 26th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (2009)

We analyze the structure of equilibria and the price of anarchy in the family of network creation games considered extensively in the past few years, which attempt to unify the network design and network routing problems by modeling both creation and usage costs. In general, the games are played on a host graph, where each node is a selfish independent agent (player) and each edge has a fixed link creation cost~$\alpha$. Together the agents create a network (a subgraph of the host graph) while selfishly minimizing the link creation costs plus the sum of the distances to all other players (usage cost). In this paper, we pursue two important facets of the network creation~game.
First, we study extensively a natural version of the game, called the cooperative model, where nodes can collaborate and share the cost of creating any edge in the host graph. We prove the first nontrivial bounds in this model, establishing that the price of anarchy is polylogarithmic in $n$ for all values of~$\alpha$ in complete host graphs. This bound is the first result of this type for any version of the network creation game; most previous general upper bounds are polynomial in~$n$. Interestingly, we also show that equilibrium graphs have polylogarithmic diameter for the most natural range of~$\alpha$ (at most $n \mathop{\rm polylg}\nolimits n$).
Second, we study the impact of the natural assumption that the host graph is a general graph, not necessarily complete. This model is a simple example of nonuniform creation costs among the edges (effectively allowing weights of $\alpha$ and~$\infty$). We prove the first assemblage of upper and lower bounds for this context, establishing nontrivial tight bounds for many ranges of~$\alpha$, for both the unilateral and cooperative versions of network creation. In particular, we establish polynomial lower bounds for both versions and many ranges of~$\alpha$, even for this simple nonuniform cost model, which sharply contrasts the conjectured constant bounds for these games in complete (uniform) graphs.

Erik D. Demaine, MohammadTaghi Hajiaghayi, Hamid Mahini, and Morteza Zadimoghaddam. The Price of Anarchy in Cooperative Network Creation Games. In 26th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 3, pp. 301-312, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2009)

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@InProceedings{demaine_et_al:LIPIcs.STACS.2009.1839, author = {Demaine, Erik D. and Hajiaghayi, MohammadTaghi and Mahini, Hamid and Zadimoghaddam, Morteza}, title = {{The Price of Anarchy in Cooperative Network Creation Games}}, booktitle = {26th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science}, pages = {301--312}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-939897-09-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2009}, volume = {3}, editor = {Albers, Susanne and Marion, Jean-Yves}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.STACS.2009.1839}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-18390}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.STACS.2009.1839}, annote = {Keywords: } }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 57, 24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016)

We prove the first non-trivial performance ratios strictly above 0.5 for weighted versions of the oblivious matching problem.
Even for the unweighted version, since Aronson, Dyer, Frieze, and Suen first proved a non-trivial ratio above 0.5 in the mid-1990s, during the next twenty years several attempts have been made to improve this ratio, until Chan, Chen, Wu and Zhao successfully achieved a significant ratio of 0.523 very recently (SODA 2014). To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first in the literature that considers the node-weighted and edge-weighted versions of the problem in arbitrary graphs (as opposed to bipartite graphs).
(1) For arbitrary node weights, we prove that a weighted version of the Ranking algorithm has ratio strictly above 0.5. We have discovered a new structural property of the ranking algorithm: if a node has two unmatched neighbors at the end of algorithm, then it will still be matched even when its rank is demoted to the bottom. This property allows us to form LP constraints for both the node-weighted and the unweighted oblivious matching problems. As a result, we prove that the ratio for the node-weighted case is at least 0.501512. Interestingly via the structural property, we can also improve slightly the ratio for the unweighted case to 0.526823 (from the previous best 0.523166 in SODA 2014).
(2) For a bounded number of distinct edge weights, we show that ratio strictly above 0.5 can be achieved by partitioning edges carefully according to the weights, and running the (unweighted) Ranking algorithm on each part. Our analysis is based on a new primal-dual framework known as \emph{matching coverage}, in which dual feasibility is bypassed. Instead, only dual constraints corresponding to edges in an optimal matching are satisfied.
Using this framework we also design and analyze an algorithm for the edge-weighted online bipartite matching problem with free disposal. We prove that for the case of bounded online degrees, the ratio is strictly above 0.5.

Melika Abolhassani, T.-H. Hubert Chan, Fei Chen, Hossein Esfandiari, MohammadTaghi Hajiaghayi, Mahini Hamid, and Xiaowei Wu. Beating Ratio 0.5 for Weighted Oblivious Matching Problems. In 24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 57, pp. 3:1-3:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{abolhassani_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2016.3, author = {Abolhassani, Melika and Chan, T.-H. Hubert and Chen, Fei and Esfandiari, Hossein and Hajiaghayi, MohammadTaghi and Hamid, Mahini and Wu, Xiaowei}, title = {{Beating Ratio 0.5 for Weighted Oblivious Matching Problems}}, booktitle = {24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016)}, pages = {3:1--3:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-015-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {57}, editor = {Sankowski, Piotr and Zaroliagis, Christos}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2016.3}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-63443}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2016.3}, annote = {Keywords: Weighted matching, oblivious algorithms, Ranking, linear programming} }

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