Computing nash equilibria gets harder : new results show hardness even for parameterized complexity

Estivill-Castro, Vladimir and Parsa, Mahdi (2009) Computing nash equilibria gets harder : new results show hardness even for parameterized complexity. In: Proceedings of the 15th Computing Australasian Theory Symposium (CATS 2009). CRPIT, 94 . ACS, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 81-87. ISBN 978-1-920682-75-0

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    Abstract

    In this paper we show that some decision problems regarding the computation of Nash equilibria are to be considered particularly hard. Most decision problems regarding Nash equilibria have been shown to be NP-complete. While some NP-complete problems can find an alternative to tractability with the tools of Parameterized Complexity Theory, it is also the case that some classes of problems do not seem to have fixed-parameter tractable algorithms. We show that k-Uniform Nash and k-Minimal Nash support are W[2]-hard. Given a game G=(A,B) and a nonnegative integer k, the k-Uniform Nash problem asks whether G has a uniform Nash equilibrium of size k. The k-Minimal Nash support asks whether has Nash equilibrium such that the support of eacGh player’s Nash strategy has size equal to or less than k. First, we show that k-Uniform Nash (with k as the parameter) is W[2]-hard even when we have 2 players, or fewer than 4 different integer values in the matrices. Second, we illustrate that even in zerosum games k-Minimal Nash support is W[2]-hard (a sample Nash equilibrium in a zero-sum 2-player game can be found in polynomial time (von Stengel 2002)). Thus, it must be the case that other more general decision problems are also W[2]-hard. Therefore, the possible parameters for fixed parameter tractability in those decision problems regarding Nash equilibria seem elusive.