The price of routing unsplittable flow

Baruch Awerbuch, Yossi Azar, Amir Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we study the "price of anarchy" for the general class of (weighted and unweighted) atomic "congestion games" with the sum of players' costs as the objective function. We show that for linear resource cost functions the price of anarchy is exactly 3+ √5/2 ≈ 2.618 for weighted congestion games and exactly 2.5 for unweighted congestion games. We show that for resource cost functions that are polynomials of degree d the price of anarchy is dΘ(d). Our results also hold for mixed strategies. In particular, these results apply to atomic routing games where the traffic demand from a source to a destination must be satisfied by choosing a single path between source and destination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages18
JournalSIAM Journal on Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Congestion games
  • Nash equilibria
  • Price of anarchy
  • Selfish routing
  • Unsplittable flow


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