A System for Distributed Mechanisms: Design, Implementation and Applications

Apt, Krzysztof R.
Arbab, Farhad
Ma, Huiye
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We describe here a structured system for distributed mechanism design appropriate for both Intranet and Internet applications. In our approach the players dynamically form a network in which they know neither their neighbours nor the size of the network and interact to jointly take decisions. The only assumption concerning the underlying communication layer is that for each pair of processes there is a path of neighbours connecting them. This allows us to deal with arbitrary network topologies. We also discuss the implementation of this system which consists of a sequence of layers. The lower layers deal with the operations that implement the basic primitives of distributed computing, namely low level communication and distributed termination, while the upper layers use these primitives to implement high level communication among players, including broadcasting and multicasting, and distributed decision making. This yields a highly flexible distributed system whose specific applications are realized as instances of its top layer. This design is implemented in Java. The system supports at various levels fault-tolerance and includes a provision for distributed policing the purpose of which is to exclude `dishonest' players. Also, it can be used for repeated creation of dynamically formed networks of players interested in a joint decision making implemented by means of a tax-based mechanism. We illustrate its flexibility by discussing a number of implemented examples.
Comment: 36 pages; revised and expanded version
Computer Science - Distributed, Parallel, and Cluster Computing, Computer Science - Computer Science and Game Theory, C.2.4, J.4