Mean field equilibria for competitive exploration in resource sharing settings

Pu Yang, Krishnamurthy Iyer, Peter I. Frazier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider a model of nomadic agents exploring and competing for time-varying location-specific resources, arising in crowdsourced transportation services, online communities, and in traditional location-based economic activity. This model comprises a group of agents, and a set of locations each endowed with a dynamic stochastic resource process. Each agent derives a periodic reward determined by the overall resource level at her location, and the number of other agents there. Each agent is strategic and free to move between locations, and at each time decides whether to stay at the same node or switch to another one. We study the equilibrium behavior of the agents as a function of dynamics of the stochastic resource process and the nature of the externality each agent imposes on others at the same location. In the asymptotic limit with the number of agents and locations increasing proportionally, we show that an equilibrium exists and has a threshold structure, where each agent decides to switch to a different location based only on their current location's resource level and the number of other agents at that location. This result provides insight into how system structure affects the agents' collective ability to explore their domain to find and effectively utilize resourcerich areas. It also allows assessing the impact of changing the reward structure through penalties or subsidies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016
PublisherInternational World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee
Pages177-187
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450341431
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Apr 11 2016Apr 15 2016

Publication series

Name25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016

Conference

Conference25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016
CountryCanada
CityMontreal
Period4/11/164/15/16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NSF CAREER CMMI-1254298, NSF CMMI-1536895, NSF IIS-1247696, AFOSR FA9550-12-1-0200, AFOSR FA9550-15-1-0038.

Keywords

  • Exploration
  • Mean Field Equilibrium
  • Resource Sharing

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