Games and Networks

Christos Papadimitriou

The Internet is the first computational artifact that was not designed by a single entity, but emerged from the complex interaction of many. Hence, it must be approached as a mysterious object, akin to the universe and the cell, to be understood by observation and falsifiable theories. Game theory plays an important role in this endeavor, since the entities involved in the Internet are optimizing interacting agents in various and varying degrees of collaboration and competition.

We survey recent work considering the Internet and its protocols as equilibria in appropriate games, and striving to explain phenomena such as the power law distributions of the degrees of the Internet topology in terms of the complex optimization problems faced by each node.