Selfish Routing with Oblivious Users

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Abstract

We consider the problem of characterizing user equilibria and optimal solutions for selfish routing in a given network. We extend the known models by considering users oblivious to congestion. While in the typical selfish routing setting the users follow a strategy that minimizes their individual cost by taking into account the (dynamic) congestion due to the current routing pattern, an oblivious user ignores congestion altogether. Instead, he decides his routing on the basis of cheapest routes on a network without any flow whatsoever. These cheapest routes can be, for example, the shortest paths in the network without any flow. This model tries to capture the fact that routing tables for at least a fraction of the flow in large scale networks such as the Internet may be based on the physical distances or hops between routers alone. The phenomenon is similar to the case of traffic networks where a certain percentage of travelers base their route simply on the distances they observe on a map, without thinking (or knowing, or caring) about the delays experienced on this route due to their fellow travelers. In this work we study the price of anarchy of such networks, i.e., the ratio of the total latency experienced by the users in this setting over the optimal total latency if all users were centrally coordinated.