A Fast Distributed Stateless Algorithm for alpha-Fair Packing Problems

Authors Jelena Marasevic, Clifford Stein, Gil Zussman

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Jelena Marasevic
Clifford Stein
Gil Zussman

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Jelena Marasevic, Clifford Stein, and Gil Zussman. A Fast Distributed Stateless Algorithm for alpha-Fair Packing Problems. In 43rd International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 55, pp. 54:1-54:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


We study weighted alpha-fair packing problems, that is, the problems of maximizing the objective functions (i) sum_j w_j*x_j^{1-alpha}/(1-alpha) when alpha > 0, alpha != 1 and (ii) sum_j w_j*ln(x_j) when alpha = 1, over linear constraints A*x <=b, x >= 0, where wj are positive weights and A and b are non-negative. We consider the distributed computation model that was used for packing linear programs and network utility maximization problems. Under this model, we provide a distributed algorithm for general alpha that converges to an epsilon-approximate solution in time (number of distributed iterations) that has an inverse polynomial dependence on the approximation parameter epsilon and poly-logarithmic dependence on the problem size. This is the first distributed algorithm for weighted alpha-fair packing with poly-logarithmic convergence in the input size. The algorithm uses simple local update rules and is stateless (namely, it allows asynchronous updates, is self-stabilizing, and allows incremental and local adjustments). We also obtain a number of structural results that characterize alpha-fair allocations as the value of alpha is varied. These results deepen our understanding of fairness guarantees in alpha-fair packing allocations, and also provide insight into the behavior of alpha-fair allocations in the asymptotic cases alpha -> 0, alpha -> 1, and alpha -> infinity.
  • Fairness
  • distributed and stateless algorithms
  • resource allocation


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