Coalition Games on Interaction Graphs: A Horticultural Perspective

26 Feb 2015  ·  Bousquet Nicolas, Li Zhentao, Vetta Adrian ·

We examine cooperative games where the viability of a coalition is determined by whether or not its members have the ability to communicate amongst themselves independently of non-members. This necessary condition for viability was proposed by Myerson (1977) and is modeled via an interaction graph $G=(V,E)$; a coalition $S\subseteq V$ is then viable if and only if the induced graph $G[S]$ is connected. The non-emptiness of the core of a coalition game can be tested by a well-known covering LP. Moreover, the integrality gap of its dual packing LP defines exactly the multiplicative least-core and the relative cost of stability of the coalition game. This gap is upper bounded by the packing-covering ratio which, for graphical coalition games, is known to be at most the treewidth of the interaction graph plus one (Meir et al. 2013). We examine the packing-covering ratio and integrality gaps of graphical coalition games in more detail. We introduce the thicket parameter of a graph, and prove it precisely measures the packing-covering ratio. It also approximately measures the primal and dual integrality gaps. The thicket number provides an upper bound of both integrality gaps. Moreover we show that for any interaction graph, the primal integrality gap is, in the worst case, linear in terms of the thicket number while the dual integrality gap is polynomial in terms of it. At the heart of our results, is a graph theoretic minmax theorem showing the thicket number is equal to the minimum width of a vine decomposition of the coalition graph (a vine decomposition is a generalization of a tree decomposition). We also explain how the thicket number relates to the VC-dimension of the set system produced by the game.

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Computer Science and Game Theory Combinatorics


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