Google Research

On the Price of Anarchy of Cost-Sharing in Real-Time Scheduling Systems

WINE (2019)


We study cost-sharing games in real-time scheduling systems where the activation cost of the server at any given time is a function of its load. We focus on monomial cost functions and consider both the case when the degree is less than one (inducing positive externalities for the jobs) and when it is greater than one (inducing negative externalities for the jobs). For the former case, we provide tight price of anarchy bounds which show that the price of anarchy grows to infinity as a polynomial of the number of jobs in the game. For the latter, we observe that existing results provide constant and tight (asymptotically in the degree of the monomial) bounds on the price of anarchy. We then switch our attention to improving the price of anarchy by means of a simple coordination mechanism that has no knowledge of the instance. We show that our mechanism reduces the price of anarchy of games with $n$ jobs and unit activation costs from $\Theta(\sqrt{n})$ to $2$. We also show that for a restricted class of instances a similar improvement is achieved for monomial activation costs. This is not the case, however, for unrestricted instances of monomial costs for which we prove that the price of anarchy remains super-constant for our mechanism.

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