Simultaneous Contests with Equal Sharing Allocation of Prizes: Computational Complexity and Price of Anarchy

by   Edith Elkind, et al.

We study a general scenario of simultaneous contests that allocate prizes based on equal sharing: each contest awards its prize to all players who satisfy some contest-specific criterion, and the value of this prize to a winner decreases as the number of winners increases. The players produce outputs for a set of activities, and the winning criteria of the contests are based on these outputs. We consider two variations of the model: (i) players have costs for producing outputs; (ii) players do not have costs but have generalized budget constraints. We observe that these games are exact potential games and hence always have a pure-strategy Nash equilibrium. The price of anarchy is 2 for the budget model, but can be unbounded for the cost model. Our main results are for the computational complexity of these games. We prove that for general versions of the model exactly or approximately computing a best response is NP-hard. For natural restricted versions where best response is easy to compute, we show that finding a pure-strategy Nash equilibrium is PLS-complete, and finding a mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium is (PPAD∩PLS)-complete. On the other hand, an approximate pure-strategy Nash equilibrium can be found in pseudo-polynomial time. These games are a strict but natural subclass of explicit congestion games, but they still have the same equilibrium hardness results.


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