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Computing mixed strategies equilibria in presence of switching costs by the solution of nonconvex QP problems (01a Articolo in rivista)

Liuzzi G., Locatelli M., Piccialli V., Rass S.

In this paper we address game theory problems arising in the context of network security. In traditional game theory problems, given a defender and an attacker, one searches for mixed strategies which minimize a linear payoff functional. In the problems addressed in this paper an additional quadratic term is added to the minimization problem. Such term represents switching costs, i.e., the costs for the defender of switching from a given strategy to another one at successive rounds of a Nash game. The resulting problems are nonconvex QP ones with linear constraints and turn out to be very challenging. We will show that the most recent approaches for the minimization of nonconvex QP functions over polytopes, including commercial solvers such as CPLEX and GUROBI, are unable to solve to optimality even test instances with n= 50 variables. For this reason, we propose to extend with them the current benchmark set of test instances for QP problems. We also present a spatial branch-and-bound approach for the solution of these problems, where a predominant role is played by an optimality-based domain reduction, with multiple solutions of LP problems at each node of the branch-and-bound tree. Of course, domain reductions are standard tools in spatial branch-and-bound approaches. However, our contribution lies in the observation that, from the computational point of view, a rather aggressive application of these tools appears to be the best way to tackle the proposed instances. Indeed, according to our experiments, while they make the computational cost per node high, this is largely compensated by the rather slow growth of the number of nodes in the branch-and-bound tree, so that the proposed approach strongly outperforms the existing solvers for QP problems.
Gruppo di ricerca: Continuous Optimization
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