Brief Announcement: Temporal Locality in Online Algorithms

Authors Maciej Pacut , Mahmoud Parham , Joel Rybicki , Stefan Schmid , Jukka Suomela , Aleksandr Tereshchenko

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Author Details

Maciej Pacut
  • Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Mahmoud Parham
  • Faculty of Computer Science, Universität Wien, Austria
Joel Rybicki
  • Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria
Stefan Schmid
  • TU Berlin, German
  • Fraunhofer SIT, Berlin, Germany
Jukka Suomela
  • Aalto University, Espoo, Finland
Aleksandr Tereshchenko
  • Aalto University, Espoo, Finland

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Maciej Pacut, Mahmoud Parham, Joel Rybicki, Stefan Schmid, Jukka Suomela, and Aleksandr Tereshchenko. Brief Announcement: Temporal Locality in Online Algorithms. In 36th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 246, pp. 52:1-52:3, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


Online algorithms make decisions based on past inputs, with the goal of being competitive against an algorithm that sees also future inputs. In this work, we introduce time-local online algorithms; these are online algorithms in which the output at any given time is a function of only T latest inputs. Our main observation is that time-local online algorithms are closely connected to local distributed graph algorithms: distributed algorithms make decisions based on the local information in the spatial dimension, while time-local online algorithms make decisions based on the local information in the temporal dimension. We formalize this connection, and show how we can directly use the tools developed to study distributed approximability of graph optimization problems to prove upper and lower bounds on the competitive ratio achieved with time-local online algorithms. Moreover, we show how to use computational techniques to synthesize optimal time-local algorithms.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Online algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Distributed computing models
  • Online algorithms
  • distributed algorithms


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