Exploiting Social Tie Structure for Cooperative Wireless Networking: A Social Group Utility Maximization Framework

Xu Chen, Xiaowen Gong, Lei Yang, Junshan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We develop a social group utility maximization (SGUM) framework for cooperative wireless networking that takes into account both social relationships and physical coupling among users. Specifically, instead of maximizing its individual utility or the overall network utility, each user aims to maximize its social group utility that hinges heavily on its social tie structure with other users. We show that this framework provides rich modeling flexibility and spans the continuum between non-cooperative game and network utility maximization (NUM)-two traditionally disjoint paradigms for network optimization. Based on this framework, we study three important applications of SGUM, in database assisted spectrum access, power control, and random access control, respectively. For the case of database assisted spectrum access, we show that the SGUM game is a potential game and always admits a socially-aware Nash equilibrium (SNE). We also develop a distributed spectrum access algorithm that can converge to the SNE and also quantify the trade-off between the performance and convergence time of the algorithm. For the cases of power control and random access control, we show that there exists a unique SNE and the network performance improves as the strength of social ties increase. Numerical results corroborate that the SGUM solutions can achieve superior performance using real social data trace. Furthermore, we show that the SGUM framework can be generalized to take into account both positive and negative social ties among users, which can be a useful tool for studying network security problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7431998
Pages (from-to)3593-3606
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Cooperative networking
  • game theory
  • mobile social networking
  • social group utility maximization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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