Centralized vs. Decentralized Multi-Agent Guesswork

S. Salamatian, A. Beirami, A. Cohen and M. Medard

2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT)


We study a notion of guesswork, where multiple agents intend to launch a coordinated brute-force attack to find a single binary secret string, and each agent has access to side information generated through either a BEC or a BSC. The average number of trials required to find the secret string grows exponentially with the length of the string, and the rate of the growth is called the guesswork exponent. We compute the guesswork exponent for several multi-agent attacks. We show that a multi-agent attack reduces the guesswork exponent compared to a single agent, even when the agents do not exchange information to coordinate their attack, and try to individually guess the secret string using a predetermined scheme in a decentralized fashion. Further, we show that the guesswork exponent of two agents who do coordinate their attack is strictly smaller than that of any finite number of agents individually performing decentralized guesswork.