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We study in this paper a noncooperative approach for sharing resources of a common pool among users, wherein each user strives to maximize its own utility. The optimality notion is then a Nash equilibrium. First, we present a general framework of systems wherein a Nash equilibrium is Pareto inefficient, which are similar to the 'tragedy of the commons' in economics. As examples that fit in the above framework, we consider noncooperative flow-control problems in communication networks where each user decides its throughput to optimize its own utility. As such a utility, we first consider the power which is defined as the throughput divided by the expected end-to-end packet delay, and then consider another utility of additive costs. For both utilities, we establish the non-efficiency of the Nash equilibria.
Date of Publication: September 2008