skip to main content


Title: Approximating Maximin Share Allocations
We study the problem of fair allocation of M indivisible items among N agents using the popular notion of maximin share as our measure of fairness. The maximin share of an agent is the largest value she can guarantee herself if she is allowed to choose a partition of the items into N bundles (one for each agent), on the condition that she receives her least preferred bundle. A maximin share allocation provides each agent a bundle worth at least their maximin share. While it is known that such an allocation need not exist [Procaccia and Wang, 2014; Kurokawa et al., 2016], a series of work [Procaccia and Wang, 2014; David Kurokawa et al., 2018; Amanatidis et al., 2017; Barman and Krishna Murthy, 2017] provided 2/3 approximation algorithms in which each agent receives a bundle worth at least 2/3 times their maximin share. Recently, [Ghodsi et al., 2018] improved the approximation guarantee to 3/4. Prior works utilize intricate algorithms, with an exception of [Barman and Krishna Murthy, 2017] which is a simple greedy solution but relies on sophisticated analysis techniques. In this paper, we propose an alternative 2/3 maximin share approximation which offers both a simple algorithm and straightforward analysis. In contrast to other algorithms, our approach allows for a simple and intuitive understanding of why it works.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1755619
NSF-PAR ID:
10083883
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Open access series in informatics
Volume:
69
ISSN:
2190-6807
Page Range / eLocation ID:
20:1 - 20:11
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    We study the problem of fair allocation for indivisible goods. We use the maximin share paradigm introduced by Budish [Budish E (2011) The combinatorial assignment problem: Approximate competitive equilibrium from equal incomes. J. Political Econom. 119(6):1061–1103.] as a measure of fairness. Kurokawa et al. [Kurokawa D, Procaccia AD, Wang J (2018) Fair enough: Guaranteeing approximate maximin shares. J. ACM 65(2):8.] were the first to investigate this fundamental problem in the additive setting. They showed that in delicately constructed examples, not everyone can obtain a utility of at least her maximin value. They mitigated this impossibility result with a beautiful observation: no matter how the utility functions are made, we always can allocate the items to the agents to guarantee each agent’s utility is at least 2/3 of her maximin value. They left open whether this bound can be improved. Our main contribution answers this question in the affirmative. We improve their approximation result to a 3/4 factor guarantee. 
    more » « less
  2. We study the problem of fairly allocating a set of m indivisible chores (items with non-positive value) to n agents. We consider the desirable fairness notion of 1-out-of-d maximin share (MMS)---the minimum value that an agent can guarantee by partitioning items into d bundles and receiving the least valued bundle---and focus on ordinal approximation of MMS that aims at finding the largest dłeq n for which 1-out-of-d MMS allocation exists. Our main contribution is a polynomial-time algorithm for 1-out-of-ł 2n/3 MMS allocation, and a proof of existence of 1-out-of-łfloor 3n/4 MMS allocation of chores. Furthermore, we show how to use recently-developed algorithms for bin-packing to approximate the latter bound up to a logarithmic factor in polynomial time. 
    more » « less
  3. In fair division of indivisible goods,  ℓ-out-of-d maximin share (MMS) is the value that an agent can guarantee by partitioning the goods into d bundles and choosing the ℓ least preferred bundles. Most existing works aim to guarantee to all agents a constant fraction of their 1-out-of-n MMS. But this guarantee is sensitive to small perturbation in agents' cardinal valuations. We consider a more robust approximation notion, which depends only on the agents' ordinal rankings of bundles. We prove the existence of ℓ-out-of-⌊(ℓ + 1/2)n⌋ MMS allocations of goods for any integer ℓ ≥ 1, and present a polynomial-time algorithm that finds a 1-out-of-⌈3n/2⌉ MMS allocation when ℓ=1. We further develop an algorithm that provides a weaker ordinal approximation to MMS for any ℓ > 1. 
    more » « less
  4. In fair division of indivisible goods, l-out-of-d maximin share (MMS) is the value that an agent can guarantee by partitioning the goods into d bundles and choosing the l least preferred bundles. Most existing works aim to guarantee to all agents a constant fraction of their 1-out-of-n MMS. But this guarantee is sensitive to small perturbation in agents' cardinal valuations. We consider a more robust approximation notion, which depends only on the agents' ordinal rankings of bundles. We prove the existence of l-out-of-floor((l+1/2)n) MMS allocations of goods for any integer l greater than or equal to 1, and present a polynomial-time algorithm that finds a 1-out-of-ceiling(3n/2) MMS allocation when l = 1. We further develop an algorithm that provides a weaker ordinal approximation to MMS for any l > 1. 
    more » « less
  5. We consider the task of assigning indivisible goods to a set of agents in a fair manner. Our notion of fairness is Nash social welfare, i.e., the goal is to maximize the geometric mean of the utilities of the agents. Each good comes in multiple items or copies, and the utility of an agent diminishes as it receives more items of the same good. The utility of a bundle of items for an agent is the sum of the utilities of the items in the bundle. Each agent has a utility cap beyond which he does not value additional items. We give a polynomial time approximation algorithm that maximizes Nash social welfare up to a factor of e^{1/{e}} ~ 1.445. The computed allocation is Pareto-optimal and approximates envy-freeness up to one item up to a factor of 2 + epsilon. 
    more » « less