Contention Resolution under Selfishness

George Christodoulou, Katrina Ligett, Evangelia Pyrga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


An additional issue to be considered in the design of such protocols is that selfish users may have incentive to deviate from the prescribed behavior, if another transmission strategy increases their utility. The work of Fiat et al. (in SODA ’07, pp. 179–188, SIAM, Philadelphia 2007) addresses this issue by constructing an asymptotically optimal incentive-compatible protocol. However, their protocol assumes the cost of any single transmission is zero, and the protocol completely collapses under non-zero transmission costs.

In many communications settings, such as wired and wireless local-area networks, when multiple users attempt to access a communication channel at the same time, a conflict results and none of the communications are successful. Contention resolution is the study of distributed transmission and retransmission protocols designed to maximize notions of utility such as channel utilization in the face of blocking communications.

In this paper we treat the case of non-zero transmission cost c. We present asymptotically optimal contention resolution protocols that are robust to selfish users, in two different channel feedback models. Our main result is in the Collision Multiplicity Feedback model, where after each time slot, the number of attempted transmissions is returned as feedback to the users. In this setting, we give a protocol that has expected cost Θ(n+clogn) and is in o(1)-equilibrium, where n is the number of users.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)675-693
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Algorithmic game theory
  • Contention resolution


Dive into the research topics of 'Contention Resolution under Selfishness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this