Overlapping coalition formation games for emerging communication networks
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homogenous architectures into a mix of various technologies, in which the network devices are densely and randomly deployed in a decentralized and heterogenous architecture. This shift in network architecture requires network devices to become more autonomous and, potentially, cooperate with one another. Such cooperation can, for example, take place between interfering small access points that seek to coordinate their radio resource allocation, nearby single-antenna users that can cooperatively perform virtual MIMO communications, or even unlicensed users that wish to cooperatively sense the spectrum of licensed users. Such cooperative mechanisms involve the simultaneous sharing and distribution of resources among a number of overlapping cooperative groups or coalitions. In this article, a novel mathematical framework from cooperative games, dubbed overlapping coalition formation games (OCF games), is introduced to model and solve such cooperative scenarios. First, the concepts of OCF games are presented, and then several algorithmic aspects are studied for two main classes of OCF games. Subsequently, two example applications, interference management and cooperative spectrum sensing, are discussed in detail to show how the proposed models and algorithms can be used in future scenarios of wireless systems. Finally, we conclude by providing an overview on future directions and applications of OCF games.
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