Resource Contention in Multiagent Systems

Michael Youssefmir and Bernardo A. Huberman

The dynamics of resource contention in multiagent systems with imperfect information can be extremely complex, ranging from nonlinear oscillations to chaotic behavior. It was shown by Hogg and Huberman that it is possible to stabilize such systems by allowing agents to follow different strategies. We now show that there is a wide range of possible strategies consistent with the existing equilibrium. As time progresses, agents explore different strategy mixes, resulting in bursts of momentary instability. These bursts eventually relax into a stable equilibrium. This mechanism of stability punctuated by bursts of erratic activity appears to be quite general in systems where agents explore strategies in search of local improvements.

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