The Equilibrium Existence Problem in Finite Network Congestion Games
An open problem is presented regarding the existence of pure strategy Nash equilibrium (PNE) in network congestion games with a finite number of non-identical players, in which the strategy set of each player is the collection of all paths in a given network that link the player’s origin and destination vertices, and congestion increases the costs of edges. A network congestion game in which the players differ only in their origin–destination pairs is a potential game, which implies that, regardless of the exact functional form of the cost functions, it has a PNE. A PNE does not necessarily exist if (i) the dependence of the cost of each edge on the number of users is player- as well as edge-specific or (ii) the (possibly, edge-specific) cost is the same for all players but it is a function (not of the number but) of the total weight of the players using the edge, with each player i having a different weight wi. In a parallel two-terminal network, in which the origin and the destination are the only vertices different edges have in common, a PNE always exists even if the players differ in either their cost functions or weights, but not in both. However, for general two-terminal networks this is not so. The problem is to characterize the class of all two-terminal network topologies for which the existence of a PNE is guaranteed even with player-specific costs, and the corresponding class for player-specific weights. Some progress in solving this problem is reported.
KeywordsCongestion games network topology heterogeneous users existence of equilibrium
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