Equilibrium strategies in queues based on time or index of arrival

Moshe Haviv*, Offer Kella, Yoav Kerner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In most decision models dealing with unobservable stochastic congested environments, one looks for a (Nash) equilibrium behavior among customers. This is a strategy that, if adopted by all, then under the resulting steady-state conditions; the best response for an individual is to adopt this strategy too. The purpose of this article is to look for a simple decision problem but where the assumption of steady-state conditions is removed. Specifically, we consider an M/M/N/N loss model in which one pays for trying to get service but is rewarded only if one finds an available server. The initial conditions at time 0 are common knowledge and each customer possesses his arrival time as his private information. The equilibrium profile tells each arrival whether to try (randomization allowed) given his time of arrival. We show that all join up to some point of time. At this point, there is a quantum drop in the joining probability from one to some fraction. From then on, their joining probability continuously converges to the equilibrium joining probability under the model that assumes steady state.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalProbability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M. Haviv was supported in part by grant 237/02 from the Israel Science Foundation. Part of the research was done in the Discipline of Operations Management and Econometrics at the University of Sydney. O. Kella was supported in part by grant 964/06 from the Israel Science Foundation and the Vigevani Chair in Statistics. Y. Kerner is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Eurandom, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


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