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When Selfish Meets Evil: Byzantine Players in a Virus Inoculation Game
Citation key MSW-WSMEBPVIC-06
Author Moscibroda, Thomas and Schmid, Stefan and Wattenhofer, Roger
Title of Book 25th Annual Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC)
Pages 35–44
Year 2006
ISBN 1-59593-384-0
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1146381.1146391
Location Denver, Colorado, USA
Month July
Abstract Over the last years, game theory has provided great insights into the behavior of distributed systems by modeling the players as utility-maximizing agents. In particular, it has been shown that selfishness causes many systems to perform in a globally suboptimal fashion. Such systems are said to have a large Price of Anarchy. In this paper, we extend this active field of research by allowing some players to be malicious or Byzantine rather than selfish. We ask: What is the impact of Byzantine players on the system's efficiency compared to purely selfish environments or compared to the social optimum? In particular, we introduce the Price of Malice which captures this efficiency degradation. As an example, we analyze the Price of Malice of a game which models the containment of the spread of viruses. In this game, each node can choose whether or not to install anti-virus software. Then, a virus starts from a random node and iteratively infects all neighboring nodes which are not inoculated. We establish various results about this game. For instance, we quantify how much the presence of Byzantine players can deteriorate or–-in case of highly risk-averse selfish players–-improve the social welfare of the distributed system.
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