A survey of approximability and inapproximability results for social welfare optimization in multiagent resource allocation


DOI: 10.1007/s10472-012-9328-4

Cite this article as:
Nguyen, T.T., Roos, M. & Rothe, J. Ann Math Artif Intell (2013) 68: 65. doi:10.1007/s10472-012-9328-4


Multiagent resource allocation provides mechanisms to allocate bundles of resources to agents, where resources are assumed to be indivisible and nonshareable. A central goal is to maximize social welfare of such allocations, which can be measured in terms of the sum of utilities realized by the agents (utilitarian social welfare), in terms of their minimum (egalitarian social welfare), and in terms of their product (Nash product social welfare). Unfortunately, social welfare optimization is a computationally intractable task in many settings. We survey recent approximability and inapproximability results on social welfare optimization in multiagent resource allocation, focusing on the two most central representation forms for utility functions of agents, the bundle form and the k-additive form. In addition, we provide some new (in)approximability results on maximizing egalitarian social welfare and social welfare with respect to the Nash product when restricted to certain special cases.


Computational social choice Multiagent resource allocation Social welfare optimization Approximability 

Mathematics Subject Classifications (2010)

68Q17 68T99 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für InformatikHeinrich-Heine-Univ. DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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