AAAI Publications, Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Algorithms for Max-Min Share Fair Allocation of Indivisible Chores
Haris Aziz, Gerhard Rauchecker, Guido Schryen, Toby Walsh

Last modified: 2017-02-10


We consider Max-min Share (MmS) fair allocations of indivisible chores (items with negative utilities). We show that allocation of chores and classical allocation of goods (items with positive utilities) have some fundamental connections but also differences which prevent a straightforward application of algorithms for goods in the chores setting and vice-versa. We prove that an MmS allocation does not need to exist for chores and computing an MmS allocation - if it exists - is strongly NP-hard. In view of these non-existence and complexity results, we present a polynomial-time 2-approximation algorithm for MmS fairness for chores. We then introduce a new fairness concept called optimal MmS that represents the best possible allocation in terms of MmS that is guaranteed to exist. We use connections to parallel machine scheduling to give (1) a polynomial-time approximation scheme for computing an optimal MmS allocation when the number of agents is fixed and (2) an effective and efficient heuristic with an ex-post worst-case analysis.


multi-agent systems; resource allocation; fair division

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