EFX Allocations: Simplifications and Improvements

05/16/2022
by   Hannaneh Akrami, et al.
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The existence of EFX allocations is a fundamental open problem in discrete fair division. Given a set of agents and indivisible goods, the goal is to determine the existence of an allocation where no agent envies another following the removal of any single good from the other agent's bundle. Since the general problem has been illusive, progress is made on two fronts: (i) proving existence when the number of agents is small, (ii) proving existence of relaxations of EFX. In this paper, we improve results on both fronts (and simplify in one of the cases). We prove the existence of EFX allocations with three agents, restricting only one agent to have an MMS-feasible valuation function (a strict generalization of nice-cancelable valuation functions introduced by Berger et al. which subsumes additive, budget-additive and unit demand valuation functions). The other agents may have any monotone valuation functions. Our proof technique is significantly simpler and shorter than the proof by Chaudhury et al. on existence of EFX allocations when there are three agents with additive valuation functions and therefore more accessible. We also consider approximate-EFX allocations and EFX allocations with few unallocated goods (charity). Chaudhury et al. showed the existence of (1-ε)-EFX allocation with O((n/ε)^4/5) charity by establishing a connection to a problem in extremal combinatorics. We improve the result of Chaudhury et al. and prove the existence of (1-ε)-EFX allocations with O((n/ ε)^2/3) charity. In fact, our techniques can be used to prove improved upper-bounds on a problem in zero-sum combinatorics introduced by Alon and Krivelevich.

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