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Online Learning for Load Balancing of Unknown Monotone Resource Allocation Games

Ilai Bistritz · Nicholas Bambos


Consider N players that each uses a mixture of K resources. Each of the players' reward functions includes a linear pricing term for each resource that is controlled by the game manager. We assume that the game is strongly monotone, so if each player runs gradient descent, the dynamics converge to a unique Nash equilibrium (NE). Unfortunately, this NE can be inefficient since the total load on a given resource can be very high. In principle, we can control the total loads by tuning the coefficients of the pricing terms. However, finding pricing coefficients that balance the loads requires knowing the players' reward functions and their action sets. Obtaining this game structure information is infeasible in a large-scale network and violates the users' privacy. To overcome this, we propose a simple algorithm that learns to shift the NE of the game to meet the total load constraints by adjusting the pricing coefficients in an online manner. Our algorithm only requires the total load per resource as feedback and does not need to know the reward functions or the action sets. We prove that our algorithm guarantees convergence in L2 to a NE that meets target total load constraints. Simulations show the effectiveness of our approach when applied to smart grid demand-side management or power control in wireless networks.

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