Jiehua Chen

Good Things Come to Those Who Swap Objects on Paths

Posted on by Jiehua Chen


We study a simple exchange market, introduced by GourveĢ€s, Lesca and Wilczynski (IJCAI-17), where every agent initially holds a single object. The agents have preferences over the objects, and two agents may swap their objects if they both prefer the object of the other agent. The agents live in an underlying social network that governs the structure of the swaps: Two agents can only swap their objects if they are adjacent. We investigate the Reachable Object problem, which asks whether a given starting situation can ever lead, by means of a sequence of swaps, to a situation where a given agent obtains a given object. Our results answer several central open questions on the complexity of Reachable Object.

  1. The problem is polynomial-time solvable if the social network is a path.
  2. The problem is NP-hard on cliques and generalized caterpillars.
  3. We establish a three-versus-four dichotomy result for preference lists of bounded length: The problem is easy if all preference lists have length at most three, and the problem becomes NP-hard even if all agents have preference lists of length at most four.


The paper can be found on arXiv.