Average-Case Approximation Ratio of Scheduling Without Payments


  • Jie Zhang University of Southampton




Apart from the principles and methodologies inherited from Economics and Game Theory, the studies in Algorithmic Mechanism Design typically employ the worst-case analysis and approximation schemes of Theoretical Computer Science. For instance, the approximation ratio, which is the canonical measure of evaluating how well an incentive-compatible mechanism approximately optimizes the objective, is defined in the worst-case sense. It compares the performance of the optimal mechanism against the performance of a truthful mechanism, for all possible inputs. In this paper, we take the average-case analysis approach, and tackle one of the primary motivating problems in Algorithmic Mechanism Design -- the scheduling problem [Nisan and Ronen 1999]. One version of this problem which includes a verification component is studied by [Koutsoupias 2014]. It was shown that the problem has a tight approximation ratio bound of (n+1)/2 for the single-task setting, where n is the number of machines. We show, however, when the costs of the machines to executing the task follow any independent and identical distribution, the average-case approximation ratio of the mechanism given in [Koutsoupias 2014] is upper bounded by a constant. This positive result asymptotically separates the average-case ratio from the worst-case ratio, and indicates that the optimal mechanism for the problem actually works well on average, although in the worst-case the expected cost of the mechanism is Theta(n) times that of the optimal cost.




How to Cite

Zhang, J. (2018). Average-Case Approximation Ratio of Scheduling Without Payments. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v32i1.11442



AAAI Technical Track: Game Theory and Economic Paradigms