Recent Developments in Equilibria Algorithms

  • Christos Papadimitriou
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/11600930_1

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3828)
Cite this paper as:
Papadimitriou C. (2005) Recent Developments in Equilibria Algorithms. In: Deng X., Ye Y. (eds) Internet and Network Economics. WINE 2005. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 3828. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


Nash proved in 1951 that every game has a mixed Nash equilibrium [6]; whether such an equilibrium can be found in polynomial time has been open since that time. We review here certain recent results which shed some light to this old problem.

Even though a mixed Nash equilibrium is a continuous object, the problem is essentially combinatorial, since it suffices to identify the support of a mixed strategy for each player; however, no algorithm better than exponential for doing so is known. For the case of two players we have a simplex-like pivoting algorithm due to Lemke and Howson that is guaranteed to converge to a Nash equilibrium; this algorithm has an exponential worst case [9]. But even such algorithms seem unlikely for three or more players: in his original paper Nash supplied an example of a 3-player game, an abstraction of poker, with only irrational Nash equilibria.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos Papadimitriou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EECSUC BerkeleyUSA

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