Strategic Contention Resolution with Limited Feedback

Research paper by George Christodoulou, Martin Gairing, Sotiris Nikoletseas, Christoforos Raptopoulos, Paul Spirakis

Indexed on: 21 Jun '16Published on: 21 Jun '16Published in: Computer Science - Computer Science and Game Theory


In this paper, we study contention resolution protocols from a game-theoretic perspective. We focus on \emph{acknowledgment-based} protocols, where a user gets feedback from the channel only when she attempts transmission. In this case she will learn whether her transmission was successful or not. Users that do not transmit will not receive any feedback. We are interested in equilibrium protocols, where no player has an incentive to deviate. The limited feedback makes the design of equilibrium protocols a hard task as best response policies usually have to be modeled as Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes, which are hard to analyze. Nevertheless, we show how to circumvent this for the case of two players and present an equilibrium protocol. For many players, we give impossibility results for a large class of acknowledgment-based protocols, namely \emph{age-based} and \emph{backoff} protocols with finite expected finishing time. Finally, we provide an age-based equilibrium protocol, which has infinite expected finishing time, but every player finishes in linear time with high probability.