Differential Games of Competition in Online Content Diffusion

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2,30 p.m.

ISI Red Room

Francesco De Pellegrini

Access to online contents represents a large share of the Internet traffic. Most such contents are multimedia items which are user-generated, i.e., posted online by the contents’ owners. In this paper we focus on how those who provide contents can leverage online platforms in order to profit from their large base of potential viewers.

Actually, platforms like Vimeo or YouTube provide tools to accelerate the dissemination of contents, i.e., recommendation lists and other re-ranking mechanisms. Hence, the popularity of a content can be increased by paying a cost for advertisement: doing so, it will appear with some priority in the recommendation lists and will be accessed more frequently by the platform users.

Ultimately, such acceleration mechanism engenders a competition among online contents to gain popularity. Overall, this configures as a novel type of gossip process, where the acceleration strategies actuated by the players of the game determine the system evolution.

In this context, a basic question is what the best acceleration strategy for a content provider is. The optimal strategy to accelerate the content diffusion, in particular, is a function of the potential popularity of a content, the fee paid for the platform advertisement service and it depends also on the strategies of competing content providers facing the same question. We formulate the problem as a differential game and we solve it for the infinite horizon case by deriving the structure of Nash equilibria.


Francesco De Pellegrini (CREATE-NET) received the Laurea degree in 2000 and the Ph.D. degree in 2004, both in Telecommunication Engineering, from the University of Padova. He is currently a senior researcher at CN and his role is Deputy Area Head of the iNSPIRE group. He also serves as lecturer at the university of Trento for the master degree course on Wireless Networks. His interests are algorithms on graphs, stochastic control of networks and game theory. F. De Pellegrini has been serving as a TPC member of IEEE INFOCOM, IEEE WiOpt and a reviewer for several international networking conferences and journals. He was the Vice General-chair for the first edition of ICST Robocomm and is one of the promoters of COMPLEX 2012. He has been General Co-Chair for the 2012 edition of IEEE NetGCoop. Francesco is currently the Coordinator for the FET EU Project CONGAS, a project whose focus is on the Dynamics and COevolution in Multi-Level Strategic INteraction GAmeS.