TY - GEN

T1 - Finding any nontrivial coarse correlated equilibrium is hard

AU - Barman, Siddharth

AU - Ligett, Katrina

PY - 2015/6/15

Y1 - 2015/6/15

N2 - One of the most appealing aspects of the (coarse) correlated equilibrium concept is that natural dynamics quickly arrive at approximations of such equilibria, even in games with many players. In addition, there exist polynomial-time algorithms that compute exact (coarse) correlated equilibria. In light of these results, a natural question is how good are the (coarse) correlated equilibria that can arise from any efficient algorithm or dynamics. In this paper we address this question, and establish strong negative results. In particular, we show that in multiplayer games that have a succinct representation, it is NP-hard to compute any coarse correlated equilibrium (or approximate coarse correlated equilibrium) with welfare strictly better than the worst possible. The focus on succinct games ensures that the underlying complexity question is interesting; many multiplayer games of interest are in fact succinct. Our results imply that, while one can efficiently compute a coarse correlated equilibrium, one cannot provide any nontrivial welfare guarantee for the resulting equilibrium, unless P = NP. We show that analogous hardness results hold for correlated equilibria, and persist under the egalitarian objective or Pareto optimality. To complement the hardness results, we develop an algorithmic framework that identifies settings in which we can efficiently compute an approximate correlated equilibrium with near-optimal welfare. We use this framework to develop an efficient algorithm for computing an approximate correlated equilibrium with near-optimal welfare in aggregative games.

AB - One of the most appealing aspects of the (coarse) correlated equilibrium concept is that natural dynamics quickly arrive at approximations of such equilibria, even in games with many players. In addition, there exist polynomial-time algorithms that compute exact (coarse) correlated equilibria. In light of these results, a natural question is how good are the (coarse) correlated equilibria that can arise from any efficient algorithm or dynamics. In this paper we address this question, and establish strong negative results. In particular, we show that in multiplayer games that have a succinct representation, it is NP-hard to compute any coarse correlated equilibrium (or approximate coarse correlated equilibrium) with welfare strictly better than the worst possible. The focus on succinct games ensures that the underlying complexity question is interesting; many multiplayer games of interest are in fact succinct. Our results imply that, while one can efficiently compute a coarse correlated equilibrium, one cannot provide any nontrivial welfare guarantee for the resulting equilibrium, unless P = NP. We show that analogous hardness results hold for correlated equilibria, and persist under the egalitarian objective or Pareto optimality. To complement the hardness results, we develop an algorithmic framework that identifies settings in which we can efficiently compute an approximate correlated equilibrium with near-optimal welfare. We use this framework to develop an efficient algorithm for computing an approximate correlated equilibrium with near-optimal welfare in aggregative games.

KW - Coarse correlated equilibrium

KW - Complexity of equilibria

KW - Price of anarchy

KW - Welfare maximization

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84962052489&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1145/2764468.2764497

DO - 10.1145/2764468.2764497

M3 - Conference contribution

AN - SCOPUS:84962052489

T3 - EC 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Economics and Computation

SP - 815

EP - 816

BT - EC 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Economics and Computation

PB - Association for Computing Machinery, Inc

T2 - 16th ACM Conference on Economics and Computation, EC 2015

Y2 - 15 June 2015 through 19 June 2015

ER -