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Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Multiple-Choice Algorithms


Vöcking,  Berthold
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Vöcking, B. (2001). Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Multiple-Choice Algorithms. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Approximation and Randomized Algorithms in Communication Networks (ARACNE) (pp. 1-10). Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Carleton Scientific.

Multiple-choice allocation algorithms have been studied intensively over the last decade. These algorithms have several applications in the areas of load balancing, routing, resource allocation and hashing. The underlying idea is simple and can be explained best in the balls-and-bins model: Instead of assigning balls (jobs, requests, or keys) simply at random to bins (machines, servers, or positions in a hash table), choose first a small set of bins at random, inspect these bins, and place the ball into one of the bins containing the smallest number of balls among them. The simple idea of first selecting a small set of alternatives at random and then making the final choice after careful inspection of these alternatives leads to great improvements against algorithms that place their decisions simply at random. We illustrate the power of this principle in terms of simple balls-and-bins processes. In particular, we study recently presented algorithms that treat bins asymmetrically in order to obtain a better load balancing. We compare the behavior of these asymmetric schemes with symmetric schemes and prove that the asymmetric schemes achieve a better load balancing than their symmetric counterparts.