Abstract: We consider algorithmic questions concerning the existence,
tractability and quality of atomic congestion games, among users that
are considered to participate in (static) selfish coalitions. We carefully
define a coalitional congestion model among atomic players.
Our findings in this model are quite interesting, in the sense that we
demonstrate many similarities with the non–cooperative case. For example,
there exist potentials proving the existence of Pure Nash Equilibria
(PNE) in the (even unrelated) parallel links setting; the Finite Improvement
Property collapses as soon as we depart from linear delays, but
there is an exact potential (and thus PNE) for the case of linear delays,
in the network setting; the Price of Anarchy on identical parallel
links demonstrates a quite surprising threshold behavior: it persists on
being asymptotically equal to that in the case of the non–cooperative
KP–model, unless we enforce a sublogarithmic number of coalitions.
We also show crucial differences, mainly concerning the hardness of algorithmic
problems that are solved efficiently in the non–cooperative case.
Although we demonstrate convergence to robust PNE, we also prove the
hardness of computing them. On the other hand, we can easily construct
a generalized fully mixed Nash Equilibrium. Finally, we propose a new
improvement policy that converges to PNE that are robust against (even
dynamically forming) coalitions of small size, in pseudo–polynomial time.
Keywords. Game Theory, Atomic Congestion Games, Coalitions, Convergence
to Equilibria, Price of Anarchy.

Abstract: We consider algorithmic questions concerning the existence, tractability and quality of Nash equi-
libria, in atomic congestion games among users participating in selsh coalitions.
We introduce a coalitional congestion model among atomic players and demonstrate many in-
teresting similarities with the non-cooperative case. For example, there exists a potential function
proving the existence of Pure Nash Equilibria (PNE) in the unrelated parallel links setting; in
the network setting, the Finite Improvement Property collapses as soon as we depart from linear
delays, but there is an exact potential (and thus PNE) for linear delays; the Price of Anarchy on
identical parallel links demonstrates a quite surprising threshold behavior: it persists on being
asymptotically equal to that in the case of the non-cooperative KP-model, unless the number of
coalitions is sublogarithmic.
We also show crucial dierences, mainly concerning the hardness of algorithmic problems that
are solved eciently in the non{cooperative case. Although we demonstrate convergence to robust
PNE, we also prove the hardness of computing them. On the other hand, we propose a generalized
fully mixed Nash Equilibrium, that can be eciently constructed in most cases. Finally, we
propose a natural improvement policy and prove its convergence in pseudo{polynomial time to
PNE which are robust against (even dynamically forming) coalitions of small size.

Abstract: We consider algorithmic questions concerning the existence,
tractability and quality of atomic congestion games, among users that
are considered to participate in (static) selfish coalitions. We carefully
define a coalitional congestion model among atomic players.
Our findings in this model are quite interesting, in the sense that we
demonstrate many similarities with the non–cooperative case. For example,
there exist potentials proving the existence of Pure Nash Equilibria
(PNE) in the (even unrelated) parallel links setting; the Finite Improvement
Property collapses as soon as we depart from linear delays, but
there is an exact potential (and thus PNE) for the case of linear delays,
in the network setting; the Price of Anarchy on identical parallel
links demonstrates a quite surprising threshold behavior: it persists on
being asymptotically equal to that in the case of the non–cooperative
KP–model, unless we enforce a sublogarithmic number of coalitions.
We also show crucial differences, mainly concerning the hardness of algorithmic
problems that are solved efficiently in the non–cooperative case.
Although we demonstrate convergence to robust PNE, we also prove the
hardness of computing them. On the other hand, we can easily construct
a generalized fully mixed Nash Equilibrium. Finally, we propose a new
improvement policy that converges to PNE that are robust against (even
dynamically forming) coalitions of small size, in pseudo–polynomial time.
Keywords. Game Theory, Atomic Congestion Games, Coalitions, Convergence
to Equilibria, Price of Anarchy.

Abstract: We study here the effect of concurrent greedy moves of players in atomic congestion games
where n selfish agents (players) wish to select a resource each (out of m resources) so that her selfish delay there is not much. Such games usually admit a global potential that decreases by sequential and selfishly improving moves. However, concurrent moves may not always lead to global convergence. On the other hand, concurrent play is desirable because it might essentially improve the system convergence time to some balanced state. The problem of ?maintaining? global progress while allowing concurrent play is
exactly what is examined and answered here. We examine two orthogonal settings : (i) A game where the players decide their moves without global information, each acting ?freely? by sampling resources randomly and locally deciding to migrate (if the new resource is better) via a random experiment. Here, the resources can have quite arbitrary latency that is load dependent. (ii) An ?organised? setting where the players are prepartitioned into selfish groups (coalitions) and where each coalition does an improving coalitional move.
Here the concurrency is among the members of the coalition. In this second setting, the resources have latency functions that are only linearly dependent on the load, since this is the only case so far where a global potential exists. In both cases (i), (ii) we show that the system converges to an ?approximate? equilibrium very fast (in logarithmic rounds where the logarithm is taken on the maximum value of the global potential). This is interesting, since two quite orthogonal settings lead to the same result. Our work considers concurrent selfish play for arbitrary latencies for the first time. Also, this is the first time where fast coalitional convergence
to an approximate equilibrium is shown. All our results refer to atomic games (ie players are finite and distinct).

Abstract: We study here the effect of concurrent greedy moves of players in atomic
congestion games where n selfish agents (players) wish to select a resource each (out
of m resources) so that her selfish delay there is not much. The problem of “maintaining”
global progress while allowing concurrent play is exactly what is examined
and answered here. We examine two orthogonal settings: (i) A game where the players
decide their moves without global information, each acting “freely” by sampling
resources randomly and locally deciding to migrate (if the new resource is better)
via a random experiment. Here, the resources can have quite arbitrary latency that is
load dependent. (ii) An “organised” setting where the players are pre-partitioned into
selfish groups (coalitions) and where each coalition does an improving coalitional
move. Our work considers concurrent selfish play for arbitrary latencies for the first
time. Also, this is the first time where fast coalitional convergence to an approximate
equilibrium is shown.

Abstract: We study here the effect of concurrent greedy moves of players in
atomic congestion games where n selﬁsh agents (players) wish to select a re-
source each (out of m resources) so that her selﬁsh delay there is not much. The
problem of maintaining global progress while allowing concurrent play is ex-
actly what is examined and answered here. We examine two orthogonal settings :
(i) A game where the players decide their moves without global information, each
acting freely by sampling resources randomly and locally deciding to migrate
(if the new resource is better) via a random experiment. Here, the resources can
have quite arbitrary latency that is load dependent. (ii) An organised setting
where the players are pre-partitioned into selﬁsh groups (coalitions) and where
each coalition does an improving coalitional move. Our work considers concur-
rent selﬁsh play for arbitrary latencies for the ﬁrst time. Also, this is the ﬁrst time
where fast coalitional convergence to an approximate equilibrium is shown.

Abstract: This paper addresses the problem of counting the size of a network where (i) processes have the same identifiers (anonymous nodes) and (ii) the et-
work topology constantly changes (dynamic network). Changes are riven by a powerful adversary that can look at internal process states and add and remove edges in order to contrast the convergence of the algorithm to the correct count. The paper proposes two leader-based counting algorithms. Such algorithms are based on a technique that mimics an energy-transfer between network nodes. The first algorithm assumes that the adversary cannot generate either disconnected network graphs or network graphs where nodes have degree greater than D. In such algorithm, the leader can count the size of the network and detect the counting termination in a finite time (i.e., conscious counting algorithm). The second algorithm assumes that the adversary only keeps the network graph connected at any time and we prove that the leader can still converge to a correct count in a finite number of rounds, but it is not conscious when this convergence happens.

Abstract: Two important performance parameters of distributed, rate-based flow control algorithms are their locality and convergence complexity. The former is characterized by the amount of global knowledge that is available to their scheduling mechanisms, while the latter is defined as the number of update operations performed on rates of individual sessions until max-min fairness is reached. Optimistic algorithms allow any session to intermediately receive a rate larger than its max-min fair rate; bottleneck algorithms finalize the rate of a session only if it is restricted by a certain, highly congested link of the network. In this work, we present a comprehensive collection of lower and upper bounds on convergence complexity, under varying degrees of locality, for optimistic, bottleneck, rate-based flow control algorithms. Say that an algorithm is oblivious if its scheduling mechanism uses no information of either the session rates or the network topology. We present a novel, combinatorial construction of a capacitated network, which we use to establish a fundamental lower bound of dn 4 + n 2 on the convergence complexity of any oblivious algorithm, where n is the number of sessions laid out on a network, and d, the session dependency, is a measure of topological dependencies among sessions. Moreover, we devise a novel simulation proof to establish that, perhaps surprisingly, the lower bound of dn 4 + n 2 on convergence complexity still holds for any partially oblivious algorithm, in which the scheduling mechanism is allowed to use information about session rates, but is otherwise unaware of network topology. On the positive side, we prove that the lower bounds for oblivious and partially oblivious algorithms are both tight. We do so by presenting optimal oblivious algorithms, which converge after dn 2 + n 2 update operations are performed in the worst case. To complete the picture, we show that linear convergence complexity can indeed be achieved if information about both session rates and network topology is available to schedulers. We present a counterexample, nonoblivious algorithm, which converges within an optimal number of n update operations. Our results imply a surprising convergence complexity collapse of oblivious and partially oblivious algorithms, and a convergence complexity separation between (partially) oblivious and nonoblivious algorithms for optimistic, bottleneck rate-based flow control.

Abstract: We present three new coordination mechanisms for schedul-
ing n sel¯sh jobs on m unrelated machines. A coordination
mechanism aims to mitigate the impact of sel¯shness of jobs
on the e±ciency of schedules by de¯ning a local schedul-
ing policy on each machine. The scheduling policies induce
a game among the jobs and each job prefers to be sched-
uled on a machine so that its completion time is minimum
given the assignments of the other jobs. We consider the
maximum completion time among all jobs as the measure
of the e±ciency of schedules. The approximation ratio of
a coordination mechanism quanti¯es the e±ciency of pure
Nash equilibria (price of anarchy) of the induced game. Our
mechanisms are deterministic, local, and preemptive in the
sense that the scheduling policy does not necessarily process
the jobs in an uninterrupted way and may introduce some
idle time. Our ¯rst coordination mechanism has approxima-
tion ratio O(logm) and always guarantees that the induced
game has pure Nash equilibria to which the system con-
verges in at most n rounds. This result improves a recent
bound of O(log2 m) due to Azar, Jain, and Mirrokni and,
similarly to their mechanism, our mechanism uses a global
ordering of the jobs according to their distinct IDs. Next
we study the intriguing scenario where jobs are anonymous,
i.e., they have no IDs. In this case, coordination mechanisms
can only distinguish between jobs that have diffeerent load
characteristics. Our second mechanism handles anonymous
jobs and has approximation ratio O
¡ logm
log logm
¢
although the
game induced is not a potential game and, hence, the exis-
tence of pure Nash equilibria is not guaranteed by potential
function arguments. However, it provides evidence that the
known lower bounds for non-preemptive coordination mech-
anisms could be beaten using preemptive scheduling poli-
cies. Our third coordination mechanism also handles anony-
mous jobs and has a nice \cost-revealing" potential func-
tion. Besides in proving the existence of equilibria, we use
this potential function in order to upper-bound the price of stability of the induced game by O(logm), the price of an-
archy by O(log2 m), and the convergence time to O(log2 m)-
approximate assignments by a polynomial number of best-
response moves. Our third coordination mechanism is the
¯rst that handles anonymous jobs and simultaneously guar-
antees that the induced game is a potential game and has
bounded price of anarchy.

Abstract: Evolutionary Game Theory is the study of strategic interactions
among large populations of agents who base their decisions on simple,
myopic rules. A major goal of the theory is to determine broad classes
of decision procedures which both provide plausible descriptions of selfish
behaviour and include appealing forms of aggregate behaviour. For example,
properties such as the correlation between strategies¢ growth rates
and payoffs, the connection between stationary states and the well-known
game theoretic notion of Nash equilibria, as well as global guarantees of
convergence to equilibrium, are widely studied in the literature.
Our paper can be seen as a quick introduction to Evolutionary Game
Theory, together with a new research result and a discussion of many
algorithmic and complexity open problems in the area. In particular, we
discuss some algorithmic and complexity aspects of the theory, which
we prefer to view more as Game Theoretic Aspects of Evolution rather
than as Evolutionary Game Theory, since the term “evolution” actually
refers to strategic adaptation of individuals¢ behaviour through a
dynamic process and not the traditional evolution of populations. We
consider this dynamic process as a self-organization procedure which,
under certain conditions, leads to some kind of stability and assures robustness
against invasion. In particular, we concentrate on the notion of
the Evolutionary Stable Strategies (ESS). We demonstrate their qualitative
difference from Nash Equilibria by showing that symmetric 2-person
games with random payoffs have on average exponentially less ESS than
Nash Equilibria. We conclude this article with some interesting areas of
future research concerning the synergy of Evolutionary Game Theory
and Algorithms.

Abstract: Evolutionary Game Theory is the study of strategic interactions among large populations of agents who base their decisions on simple, myopic rules. A major goal of the theory is to determine broad classes of decision procedures which both provide plausible descriptions of selfish behaviour and include appealing forms of aggregate behaviour. For example, properties such as the correlation between strategies' growth rates and payoffs, the connection between stationary states and Nash equilibria and global guarantees of convergence to equilibrium, are widely studied in the literature. In this paper we discuss some computational aspects of the theory, which we prefer to view more as Game Theoretic Aspects of Evolution than Evolutionary Game Theory, since the term "evolution" actually refers to strategic adaptation of individuals ' behaviour through a dynamic process and not the traditional evolution of populations. We consider this dynamic process as a self-organization procedure, which under certain conditions leads to some kind of stability and assures robustness against invasion.

Abstract: Evolutionary dynamics have been traditionally studied in the context of homogeneous populations, mainly described by the Moran process [15]. Recently, this approach has been generalized in [13] by arranging individuals on the nodes of a network (in general, directed). In this setting, the existence of directed arcs enables the simulation of extreme phenomena, where the fixation probability of a randomly placed mutant (i.e. the probability that the offsprings of the mutant eventually spread over the whole population) is arbitrarily small or large. On the other hand, undirected networks (i.e. undirected graphs) seem to have a smoother behavior, and thus it is more challenging to find suppressors/amplifiers of selection, that is, graphs with smaller/greater fixation probability than the complete graph (i.e. the homogeneous population). In this paper we focus on undirected graphs. We present the first class of undirected graphs which act as suppressors of selection, by achieving a fixation probability that is at most one half of that of the complete graph, as the number of vertices increases. Moreover, we provide some generic upper and lower bounds for the fixation
probability of general undirected graphs. As our main contribution, we introduce the natural alternative of the model proposed in [13]. In our new evolutionary model, all individuals interact simultaneously and the result is a compromise between aggressive and non-aggressive individuals. That is, the behavior of the individuals in our new model and in the model of [13] can be interpreted as an “aggregation” vs. an “all-or-nothing” strategy, respectively. We prove that our new model of mutual influences admits a potential function, which guarantees the convergence of the system for any graph topology and any initial fitness vector of the individuals. Furthermore, we prove fast convergence to the stable state for the case of the complete graph, as well as we provide almost tight bounds on the limit fitness of the individuals. Apart from being important on its own, this new evolutionary model appears to be useful also in the abstract modeling of control mechanisms over invading populations in networks. We demonstrate this by introducing and analyzing two alternative control approaches, for which we bound the time needed to stabilize to the “healthy” state of the system.

Abstract: In this paper we present an implementation and performance evaluation of a descent algorithm that was proposed in \cite{tsaspi} for the computation of approximate Nash equilibria of non-cooperative bi-matrix games. This algorithm, which achieves the best polynomially computable \epsilon-approximate equilibria till now, is applied here to several problem instances designed so as to avoid the existence of easy solutions. Its performance is analyzed in terms of quality of approximation and speed of convergence. The results demonstrate significantly better performance than the theoretical worst case bounds, both for the quality of approximation and for the speed of convergence. This motivates further investigation into the intrinsic characteristics of descent algorithms applied to bi-matrix games. We discuss these issues and provide some insights about possible variations and extensions of the algorithmic concept that could lead to further understanding of the complexity of computing equilibria. We also prove here a new significantly better bound on the number of loops required for convergence of the descent algorithm.

Abstract: This is a joint work with Ioannis Chatzigiannakis and Othon Michail.
We discuss here the population protocol model and most of its well-known extensions. The population protocol model aims to represent sensor networks consisting of tiny computational devices with sensing capabilities that follow some unpredictable and uncontrollable mobility pattern. It adopts a minimalistic approach and, thus, naturally computes a quite restricted class of predicates and exhibits almost no fault-tolerance. Most recent approaches make extra realistic and implementable assumptions, in order to gain more computational power and/or speed-up the time to convergence and/or improve fault-tolerance. In particular, the mediated population protocol model, the community protocol model, and the PALOMA model, which are all extensions of the population protocol model, are thoroughly discussed. Finally, the inherent difficulty of verifying the correctness of population protocols that run on complete communication graphs is revealed, but a promising algorithmic solution is presented.

Abstract: We consider the line planning problem in public transporta-
tion, under a robustness perspective. We present a mechanism for robust
line planning in the case of multiple line pools, when the line operators
have a different utility function per pool. We conduct an experimen-
tal study of our mechanism on both synthetic and real-world data that
shows fast convergence to the optimum. We also explore a wide range of
scenarios, varying from an arbitrary initial state (to be solved) to small
disruptions in a previously optimal solution (to be recovered). Our ex-
periments with the latter scenario show that our mechanism can be used
as an online recovery scheme causing the system to re-converge to its
optimum extremely fast.

Abstract: In this work, we study protocols so that populations of distributed processes can construct networks. In order to highlight the basic principles of distributed network construction, we keep the model minimal in all respects. In particular, we assume finite-state processes that all begin from the same initial state and all execute the same protocol. Moreover, we assume pairwise interactions between the processes that are scheduled by a fair adversary. In order to allow processes to construct networks, we let them activate and deactivate their pairwise connections. When two processes interact, the protocol takes as input the states of the processes and the state of their connection and updates all of them. Initially all connections are inactive and the goal is for the processes, after interacting and activating/deactivating connections for a while, to end up with a desired stable network. We give protocols (optimal in some cases) and lower bounds for several basic network construction problems such as spanning line, spanning ring, spanning star, and regular network. The expected time to convergence of our protocols is analyzed under a uniform random scheduler. Finally, we prove several universality results by presenting generic protocols that are capable of simulating a Turing Machine (TM) and exploiting it in order to construct a large class of networks. We additionally show how to partition the population into k supernodes, each being a line of log k nodes, for the largest such k. This amount of local memory is sufficient for the supernodes to obtain unique names and exploit their names and their memory to realize nontrivial constructions.

Abstract: In this work, we study protocols (i.e. distributed algorithms) so that populations of distributed processes can construct networks. In order to highlight the basic principles of distributed network construction we keep the model minimal in all respects. In particular, we assume finite-state processes that all begin from the same initial state and all execute the same protocol (i.e. the system is homogeneous). Moreover, we assume pairwise interactions between the processes that are scheduled by an adversary. The only constraint on the adversary scheduler is that it must be fair, intuitively meaning that it must assign to every reachable configuration of the system a non-zero probability to occur. In order to allow processes to construct networks, we let them activate and deactivate their pairwise connections. When two processes interact, the protocol takes as input the states of the processes and the state of their connection and updates all of them. In particular, in every interaction, the protocol may activate an inactive connection, deactivate an active one, or leave the state of a connection unchanged. Initially all connections are inactive and the goal is for the processes, after interacting and activating/deactivating connections for a while, to end up with a desired stable network (i.e. one that does not change any more). We give protocols (optimal in some cases) and lower bounds for several basic network construction problems such as spanning line, spanning ring, spanning star, and regular network. We provide proofs of correctness for all of our protocols and analyze the expected time to convergence of most of them under a uniform random scheduler that selects the next pair of interacting processes uniformly at random from all such pairs. Finally, we prove several universality results by presenting generic protocols that are capable of simulating a Turing Machine (TM) and exploiting it in order to construct a large class of networks. Our universality protocols use a subset of the population (waste) in order to distributedly construct there a TM able to decide a graph class in some given space. Then, the protocols repeatedly construct in the rest of the population (useful space) a graph equiprobably drawn from all possible graphs. The TM works on this and accepts if the presented graph is in the class. We additionally show how to partition the population into k supernodes, each being a line of log k nodes, for the largest such k. This amount of local memory is sufficient for the supernodes to obtain unique names and exploit their names and their memory to realize nontrivial constructions. Delicate composition and reinitialization issues have to be solved for these general constructions to work.

Abstract: A packet-switching network is stable if the number of packets in the network remains bounded at all times. A very natural question that arises in the context of stability properties of such networks is how network structure precisely affects these properties. In this work we embark on a systematic study of this question in the context of Adversarial Queueing Theory, which assumes that packets are adversarially injected into the network. We consider size, diameter, maximum vertex degree, minimum number of disjoint paths that cover all edges of the network and network subgraphs as crucial structural parameters of the network, and we present a comprehensive collection of structural results, in the form of stability and instability bounds on injection rate of the adversary for various greedy protocols: —Increasing the size of a network may result in dropping its instability bound. This is shown through a novel, yet simple and natural, combinatorial construction of a size-parameterized network on which certain compositions of greedy protocols are running. The convergence of the drop to 0.5 is found to be fast with and proportional to the increase in size. —Maintaining the size of a network small may already suffice to drop its instability bound to a substantially low value. This is shown through a construction of a FIFO network with size 22, which becomes unstable at rate 0.704. This represents the current state-of-the-art trade-off between network size and instability bound. —The diameter, maximum vertex degree and minimum number of edge-disjoint paths that cover a network may be used as control parameters for the stability bound of the network. This is shown through an improved analysis of the stability bound of any arbitrary FIFO network, which takes these parameters into account. —How much can network subgraphs that are forbidden for stability affect the instability bound? Through improved combinatorial constructions of networks and executions, we improve the state-of-the-art instability bound induced by certain known forbidden subgraphs on networks running a certain greedy protocol. —Our results shed more light and contribute significantly to a finer understanding of the impact of structural parameters on stability and instability properties of networks.