AAAI Publications, Twenty-Seventh AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Equilibria of Online Scheduling Algorithms
Itai Ashlagi, Brendan Lucier, Moshe Tennenholtz

Last modified: 2013-06-30


We describe a model for competitive online scheduling algorithms. Two servers, each with a single observable queue, compete for customers. Upon arrival, each customer strategically chooses the queue with minimal expected wait time. Each scheduler wishes to maximize its number of customers, and can strategically select which scheduling algorithm, such as First-Come-First-Served (FCFS), to use for its queue. This induces a game played by the servers and the customers. We consider a non-Bayesian setting, where servers and customers play to maximize worst-case payoffs. We show that there is a unique subgame perfect safety-level equilibrium and we describe the associated scheduling algorithm (which is not FCFS). The uniqueness result holds for both randomized and deterministic algorithms, with a different equilibrium algorithm in each case. When the goal of the servers is to minimize competitive ratio, we prove that it is an equilibrium for each server to apply FCFS: each server obtains the optimal competitive ratio of 2.

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