Setting lower bounds on truthfulness

Ahuva Mu'alem, Michael Schapira

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

61 Scopus citations


We present and discuss general techniques for proving inapproximability results for truthful mechanisms. We make use of these techniques to prove lower bounds on the approximability of several non-utilitarian multi-parameter problems. In particular, we demonstrate the strength of our techniques by exhibiting a lower bound of 2 - 1/m for the scheduling problem with unrelated machines (formulated as a mechanism design problem in the seminal paper of Nisan and Ronen on Algorithmic Mechanism Design). Our lower bound applies to truthful randomized mechanisms (disregarding any computational assumptions on the running time of these mechanisms). Moreover, it holds even for the weaker notion of truthfulness for randomized mechanisms - i.e., truth-fulness in expectation. This lower bound nearly matches the known 7/4 (randomized) truthful upper bound for the case of two machines (a non-truthful FPTAS exists). No lower bound for truthful randomized mechanisms in multi-parameter settings was previously known. We show an application of our techniques to the workload-minimization problem in networks. We prove our lower bounds for this problem in the inter-domain routing setting presented by Feigenbaum, Papadimitriou, Sami, and Shenker. Finally, we discuss several notions of non-utilitarian "fairness" (Max-Min fairness, Min-Max fairness, and envy minimization). We show how our techniques can be used to prove lower bounds for these notions.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2007
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780898716245
StatePublished - 2007
Event18th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2007 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 20079 Jan 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms


Conference18th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2007 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.


Dive into the research topics of 'Setting lower bounds on truthfulness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this