The Complexity of Scarf's Lemma and Related Problems

ACO Student Seminar
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 13:30
2 hours
ISyE Executive Classroom
CS, Georgia Tech
Scarf's lemma is one of the fundamental results in combinatorics, originally introduced to study the core of an N-person game. Over the last four decades, the usefulness of Scarf's lemma has been demonstrated in several important combinatorial problems seeking stable solutions. However, the complexity of the computational version of Scarf's lemma (Scarf) remained open. In this talk, I will prove that Scarf is complete for the complexity class PPAD. This shows that Scarf is as hard as the computational versions of Brouwer's fixed point theorem and Sperner's lemma. Hence, there is no polynomial-time algorithm for Scarf unless PPAD \subseteq P. I will also talk about fractional stable paths problem, finding fractional kernels in digraphs, finding fractional stable matching in hypergraphic preference systems and finding core in an N-person balanced game with non-transferable utilities. I will show the connection between these problems through Scarf's lemma and address the complexity of these problems.