Methods for finding leader--follower equilibria with multiple followers

7 Jul 2017  ·  Nicola Basilico, Stefano Coniglio, Nicola Gatti ·

The concept of leader--follower (or Stackelberg) equilibrium plays a central role in a number of real--world applications of game theory. While the case with a single follower has been thoroughly investigated, results with multiple followers are only sporadic and the problem of designing and evaluating computationally tractable equilibrium-finding algorithms is still largely open... In this work, we focus on the fundamental case where multiple followers play a Nash equilibrium once the leader has committed to a strategy---as we illustrate, the corresponding equilibrium finding problem can be easily shown to be $\mathcal{FNP}$--hard and not in Poly--$\mathcal{APX}$ unless $\mathcal{P} = \mathcal{NP}$ and therefore it is one among the hardest problems to solve and approximate. We propose nonconvex mathematical programming formulations and global optimization methods to find both exact and approximate equilibria, as well as a heuristic black box algorithm. All the methods and formulations that we introduce are thoroughly evaluated computationally. read more

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