Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 256–289 | Cite as

Computational complexity and approximability of social welfare optimization in multiagent resource allocation

  • Nhan-Tam Nguyen
  • Trung Thanh Nguyen
  • Magnus Roos
  • Jörg Rothe
Article

Abstract

A central task in multiagent resource allocation, which provides mechanisms to allocate (bundles of) resources to agents, is to maximize social welfare. We assume resources to be indivisible and nonshareable and agents to express their utilities over bundles of resources, where utilities can be represented in the bundle form, the \(k\)-additive form, and as straight-line programs. We study the computational complexity of social welfare optimization in multiagent resource allocation, where we consider utilitarian and egalitarian social welfare and social welfare by the Nash product. Solving some of the open problems raised by Chevaleyre et al. (2006) and confirming their conjectures, we prove that egalitarian social welfare optimization is \(\mathrm{NP}\)-complete for the bundle form, and both exact utilitarian and exact egalitarian social welfare optimization are \(\mathrm{DP}\)-complete, each for both the bundle and the \(2\)-additive form, where \(\mathrm{DP}\) is the second level of the boolean hierarchy over \(\mathrm{NP}\). In addition, we prove that social welfare optimization by the Nash product is \(\mathrm{NP}\)-complete for both the bundle and the \(1\)-additive form, and that the exact variants are \(\mathrm{DP}\)-complete for the bundle and the \(3\)-additive form. For utility functions represented as straight-line programs, we show \(\mathrm{NP}\)-completeness for egalitarian social welfare optimization and social welfare optimization by the Nash product. Finally, we show that social welfare optimization by the Nash product in the \(1\)-additive form is hard to approximate, yet we also give fully polynomial-time approximation schemes for egalitarian and Nash product social welfare optimization in the \(1\)-additive form with a fixed number of agents.

Keywords

Multiagent resource allocation Social welfare optimization Computational complexity Economically motivated agents Mechanism design Approximability 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nhan-Tam Nguyen
    • 1
  • Trung Thanh Nguyen
    • 1
  • Magnus Roos
    • 1
  • Jörg Rothe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für InformatikHeinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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