On the Cryptographic Hardness of Finding a Nash Equilibrium

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Abstract

We prove that finding a Nash equilibrium of a game is hard, assuming the existence of indistinguishability obfuscation and one-way functions with sub-exponential hardness. We do so by showing how these cryptographic primitives give rise to a hard computational problem that lies in the complexity class PPAD, for which finding Nash equilibrium is complete. Previous proposals for basing PPAD-hardness on program obfuscation considered a strong 'virtual black-box' notion that is subject to severe limitations and is unlikely to be realizable for the programs in question. In contrast, for indistinguishability obfuscation no such limitations are known, and recently, several candidate constructions of indistinguishability obfuscation were suggested based on different hardness assumptions on multilinear maps. Our result provides further evidence of the intractability of finding a Nash equilibrium, one that is extrinsic to the evidence presented so far.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2015 IEEE 56th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, FOCS 2015
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages1480-1498
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781467381918
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event56th IEEE Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, FOCS 2015 - Berkeley, United States
Duration: 17 Oct 201520 Oct 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, FOCS
Volume2015-December
ISSN (Print)0272-5428

Conference

Conference56th IEEE Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, FOCS 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBerkeley
Period17/10/1520/10/15

Keywords

  • nash equilibrium
  • obfuscation

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