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Online Cooperative Cost Sharing

Brenner, Janina; Schäfer, Guido

Preprint-Reihe des Instituts für Mathematik, Technische Universität Berlin

The problem of sharing the cost of a common infrastructure among a set of strategic and cooperating players has been the subject of intensive research in recent years. However, most of these studies consider cooperative cost sharing games in an offline setting, i.e., the mechanism knows all players and their respective input data in advance. In this paper, we consider cooperative cost sharing games in an online setting: Upon the arrival of a new player, the mechanism has to take instantaneous and irreversible decisions without any knowledge about players that arrive in the future. We propose an online model for general demand cost sharing games and give a perfect characterization of both weakly group-strategyproof and group-strategyproof online cost sharing mechanisms for this model. Moreover, we present a simple method to derive incremental online cost sharing mechanisms from online algorithms such that the competitive ratio is preserved. Based on our general results, we develop online cost sharing mechanisms for several binary demand and general demand cost sharing games.