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We propose and investigate Selfish Path MultiColoring games as a natural model for noncooperative wavelength assignment in multifiber optical networks. In this setting, we view the wavelength assignment process as a strategic game in which each communication request selfishly chooses a wavelength in an effort to minimize the maximum congestion that it encounters on the chosen wavelength. We measure the cost of a certain wavelength assignment as the maximum, among all physical links, number of parallel fibers employed by this assignment. We start by settling questions related to the existence and computation of and convergence to pure Nash equilibria in these games. Our main contribution is a thorough analysis of the price of anarchy of such games, that is, the worst-case ratio between the cost of a Nash equilibrium and the optimal cost. We first provide upper bounds on the price of anarchy for games defined on general network topologies. Along the way, we obtain an upper bound of 2 for games defined on star networks. We next show that our bounds are tight even in the case of tree networks of maximum degree 3, leading to nonconstant price of anarchy for such topologies. In contrast, for network topologies of maximum degree 2, the quality of the solutions obtained by selfish wavelength assignment is much more satisfactory: We prove that the price of anarchy is bounded by 4 for a large class of practically interesting games defined on ring networks.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012