The Computational Complexity of Nash Equilibria in Concisely Represented Games

Grant Schoenebeck and Salil Vadhan


Games may be represented in many different ways, and different representations of games affect the complexity of problems associated with games, such as finding a Nash equilibrium. The traditional method of representing a game is to explicitly list all the payoffs, but this incurs an exponential blowup as the number of agents grows. We study two models of concisely represented games: *circuit games*, where the payoffs are computed by a given boolean circuit, and *graph games*, where each agent's payoff is a function of only the strategies played by its neighbors in a given graph. For these two models, we study the complexity of four questions: determining if a given strategy is a Nash equilibrium, finding a Nash equilibrium, determining if there exists a pure Nash equilibrium, and determining if there exists a Nash equilibrium in which the payoffs to a player meet some given guarantees. In many cases, we obtain tight results, showing that the problems are complete for various complexity classes.


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