An O(log n)-competitive algorithm for online machine minimization

Lin Chen, Nicole Megow, Kevin Schewior

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We consider the online machine minimization problem in which jobs with hard deadlines arrive online over time at their release dates. The task is to determine a feasible preemptive schedule on a minimum number of machines. Our main result is a general O(log m)-competitive algorithm for the online problem, where m is the optimal number of machines used in an offline solution. This is the first improvement on an intriguing problem in nearly two decades. To date, the best known result is a O(log(pmax/pmin))-competitive algorithm by Phillips et al. (STOC 1997) that depends on the ratio of maximum and minimum job sizes, pmax and pmin. Even for m = 2 no better algorithm was known. Our algorithm is in this case constant-competitive. When applied to laminar or agreeable instances, our algorithm achieves a competitive ratio of O(1) even independently of m. The following two key components lead to our new result. Firstly, we derive a new lower bound on the optimum value that relates the laxity and the number of jobs with intersecting time windows. Then, we design a new algorithm that is tailored to this lower bound and balances the delay of jobs by taking the number of currently running jobs into account.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2016
EditorsRobert Krauthgamer
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781510819672
StatePublished - 2016
Event27th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2016 - Arlington, United States
Duration: Jan 10 2016Jan 12 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms


Conference27th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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