Best-response dynamics out of sync: Complexity and characterization

Roee Engelberg, Alex Fabrikant, Michael Schapira, David Wajc

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In many computational and economic models of multi-agent interaction, each participant repeatedly "bestresponds" to the others' actions. Game theory research on the prominent "best-response dynamics" model typically relies on the premise that the interaction between agents is somehow synchronized. However, in many real-life settings, e.g., internet protocols and large-scale markets, the interaction between participants is asynchronous. We tackle the following important questions: (1) When are best-response dynamics guaranteed to converge to an equilibrium even under asynchrony? (2) What is the (computational and communication) complexity of verifying guaranteed convergence? We show that, in general, verifying guaranteed convergence is intractable. In fact, our main negative result establishes that this task is undecidable.We exhibit, in contrast, positive results for several environments of interest, including complete, computationallytractable, characterizations of convergent systems. We discuss the algorithmic implications of our results, which extend beyond best-response dynamics to applications such as asynchronous Boolean circuits.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationEC 2013 - Proceedings of the 14th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2013
Event14th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC 2013 - Philadelphia, PA, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 201320 Jun 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce


Conference14th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia, PA


  • Asynchronous models
  • Best response dynamics
  • Complexity
  • Convergence
  • Game theory


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