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The Power of Two Random Choices: A Survey of Techniques and Results
 in Handbook of Randomized Computing
, 2000
"... ITo motivate this survey, we begin with a simple problem that demonstrates a powerful fundamental idea. Suppose that n balls are thrown into n bins, with each ball choosing a bin independently and uniformly at random. Then the maximum load, or the largest number of balls in any bin, is approximately ..."
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Cited by 100 (2 self)
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ITo motivate this survey, we begin with a simple problem that demonstrates a powerful fundamental idea. Suppose that n balls are thrown into n bins, with each ball choosing a bin independently and uniformly at random. Then the maximum load, or the largest number of balls in any bin, is approximately log n= log log n with high probability. Now suppose instead that the balls are placed sequentially, and each ball is placed in the least loaded of d 2 bins chosen independently and uniformly at random. Azar, Broder, Karlin, and Upfal showed that in this case, the maximum load is log log n= log d + (1) with high probability [ABKU99]. The important implication of this result is that even a small amount of choice can lead to drastically different results in load balancing. Indeed, having just two random choices (i.e.,...
Fast Concurrent Access to Parallel Disks
"... High performance applications involving large data sets require the efficient and flexible use of multiple disks. In an external memory machine with D parallel, independent disks, only one block can be accessed on each disk in one I/O step. This restriction leads to a load balancing problem that is ..."
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Cited by 50 (11 self)
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High performance applications involving large data sets require the efficient and flexible use of multiple disks. In an external memory machine with D parallel, independent disks, only one block can be accessed on each disk in one I/O step. This restriction leads to a load balancing problem that is perhaps the main inhibitor for the efficient adaptation of singledisk external memory algorithms to multiple disks. We solve this problem for arbitrary access patterns by randomly mapping blocks of a logical address space to the disks. We show that a shared buffer of O(D) blocks suffices to support efficient writing. The analysis uses the properties of negative association to handle dependencies between the random variables involved. This approach might be of independent interest for probabilistic analysis in general. If two randomly allocated copies of each block exist, N arbitrary blocks can be read within dN=De + 1 I/O steps with high probability. The redundancy can be further reduced from 2 to 1 + 1=r for any integer r without a big impact on reading efficiency. From the point of view of external memory models, these results rehabilitate Aggarwal and Vitter's "singledisk multihead" model [1] that allows access to D arbitrary blocks in each I/O step. This powerful model can be emulated on the physically more realistic independent disk model [2] with small constant overhead factors. Parallel disk external memory algorithms can therefore be developed in the multihead model first. The emulation result can then be applied directly or further refinements can be added.
Geometric Generalizations of the Power of Two Choices
 In Proceedings of the 16th ACM Symposium on Parallel Algorithms and Architectures (SPAA
, 2003
"... A wellknown paradigm for load balancing in distributed systems is the "power of two choices," whereby an item is stored at the less loaded of two (or more) random alternative servers. We investigate the power of two choices in natural settings for distributed computing where items and servers resid ..."
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Cited by 32 (3 self)
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A wellknown paradigm for load balancing in distributed systems is the "power of two choices," whereby an item is stored at the less loaded of two (or more) random alternative servers. We investigate the power of two choices in natural settings for distributed computing where items and servers reside in a geometric space and each item is associated with the server that is its nearest neighbor. This is in fact the backdrop for distributed hash tables such as Chord, where the geometric space is determined by clockwise distance on a onedimensional ring. Theoretically, we consider the following load balancing problem. Suppose that servers are initially hashed uniformly at random to points in the space. Sequentially, each item then considers d candidate insertion points also chosen uniformly at random from the space, and selects the insertion point whose associated server has the least load. For the onedimensional ring, and for Euclidean distance on the twodimensional torus, we demonstrate that when n data items are hashed to n servers, the maximum load at any server is log log n= log d + O(1) with high probability. While our results match the wellknown bounds in the standard setting in which each server is selected equiprobably, our applications do not have this feature, since the sizes of the nearestneighbor regions around servers are nonuniform. Therefore, the novelty in our methods lies in developing appropriate tail bounds on the distribution of nearestneighbor region sizes and in adapting previous arguments to this more general setting. In addition, we provide simulation results demonstrating the load balance that results as the system size scales into the millions.
The natural workstealing algorithm is stable
 In Proceedings of the 42nd IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS
, 2001
"... In this paper we analyse a very simple dynamic workstealing algorithm. In the workgeneration model, there are n (work) generators. A generatorallocation function is simply a function from the n generators to the n processors. We consider a fixed, but arbitrary, distribution D over generatoralloca ..."
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Cited by 26 (1 self)
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In this paper we analyse a very simple dynamic workstealing algorithm. In the workgeneration model, there are n (work) generators. A generatorallocation function is simply a function from the n generators to the n processors. We consider a fixed, but arbitrary, distribution D over generatorallocation functions. During each timestep of our process, a generatorallocation function h is chosen from D, and the generators are allocated to the processors according to h. Each generator may then generate a unittime task which it inserts into the queue of its host processor. It generates such a task independently with probability λ. After the new tasks are generated, each processor removes one task from its queue and services it. For many choices of D, the workgeneration model allows the load to become arbitrarily imbalanced, even when λ < 1. For example, D could be the point distribution containing a single function h which allocates all of the generators to just one processor. For this choice of D, the chosen processor receives around λn units of work at each step and services one. The natural workstealing algorithm that we analyse is widely used in practical applications and works as follows. During each time step, each empty
Perfectly balanced allocation
 in Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Randomization and Approximation Techniques in Computer Science, Princeton, NJ, 2003, Lecture Notes in Comput. Sci. 2764
, 2003
"... Abstract. We investigate randomized processes underlying load balancing based on the multiplechoice paradigm: m balls have to be placed in n bins, and each ball can be placed into one out of 2 randomly selected bins. The aim is to distribute the balls as evenly as possible among the bins. Previousl ..."
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Cited by 17 (1 self)
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Abstract. We investigate randomized processes underlying load balancing based on the multiplechoice paradigm: m balls have to be placed in n bins, and each ball can be placed into one out of 2 randomly selected bins. The aim is to distribute the balls as evenly as possible among the bins. Previously, it was known that a simple process that places the balls one by one in the least loaded bin can achieve a maximum load of m/n + Θ(log log n) with high probability. Furthermore, it was known that it is possible to achieve (with high probability) a maximum load of at most ⌈m/n ⌉ +1using maximum flow computations. In this paper, we extend these results in several aspects. First of all, we show that if m ≥ cn log n for some sufficiently large c, thenaperfect distribution of balls among the bins can be achieved (i.e., the maximum load is ⌈m/n⌉) with high probability. The bound for m is essentially optimal, because it is known that if m ≤ c ′ n log n for some sufficiently small constant c ′ , the best possible maximum load that can be achieved is ⌈m/n ⌉ +1with high probability. Next, we analyze a simple, randomized load balancing process based on a local search paradigm. Our first result here is that this process always converges to a best possible load distribution. Then, we study the convergence speed of the process. We show that if m is sufficiently large compared to n,thenno matter with which ball distribution the system starts, if the imbalance is ∆, then the process needs only ∆·n O(1) steps to reach a perfect distribution, with high probability. We also prove a similar result for m ≈ n, and show that if m = O(n log n / log log n), then an optimal load distribution (which has the maximum load of ⌈m/n ⌉ +1) is reached by the random process after a polynomial number of steps, with high probability.
Asynchronous scheduling of redundant disk arrays
, 2000
"... Random redundant allocation of data to parallel disk arrays can be exploited to achieve low access delays. New algorithms are proposed which improve the previously known shortest queue algorithm by systematically exploiting that scheduling decisions can be deferred until a block access is actually s ..."
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Cited by 13 (5 self)
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Random redundant allocation of data to parallel disk arrays can be exploited to achieve low access delays. New algorithms are proposed which improve the previously known shortest queue algorithm by systematically exploiting that scheduling decisions can be deferred until a block access is actually started on a disk. These algorithms are also generalized for coding schemes with low redundancy. Using extensive experiments, practically important quantities are measured which have so far eluded an analytical treatment: The delay distribution when a stream of requests approaches the limit of the sytem capacity, the system efficiency for parallel disk applications with bounded prefetching buffers, and the combination of both for mixed traffic. A further step towards practice is taken by outlining the system design for α: automatically loadbalanced parallel harddisk array. 1
The Random Graph Threshold for korientiability and a Fast Algorithm for Optimal MultipleChoice Allocation
, 2007
"... We investigate a linear time greedy algorithm for the following load balancing problem: Assign m balls to n bins such that the maximum occupancy is minimized. Each ball can be placed into one of two randomly choosen bins. This problem is closely related to the problem of orienting the edges of an un ..."
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Cited by 13 (2 self)
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We investigate a linear time greedy algorithm for the following load balancing problem: Assign m balls to n bins such that the maximum occupancy is minimized. Each ball can be placed into one of two randomly choosen bins. This problem is closely related to the problem of orienting the edges of an undirected graph to obtain a directed graph with minimum indegree. Using differential equation methods, we derive thresholds for the solution quality achieved by our algorithm. Since these thresholds coincide with lower bounds for the achievable solution quality, this proves the optimality of our algorithm (as n → ∞, in a probabilistic sense) and establishes the thresholds for korientability of random graphs. This proves an assertion of Karp and Saks.
Uniform Hashing in Constant Time and Linear Space
, 2003
"... Many algorithms and data structures employing hashing have been analyzed under the uniform hashing assumption, i.e., the assumption that hash functions behave like truly random functions. Starting with the discovery of universal hash functions, many researchers have studied to what extent this theor ..."
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Cited by 12 (1 self)
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Many algorithms and data structures employing hashing have been analyzed under the uniform hashing assumption, i.e., the assumption that hash functions behave like truly random functions. Starting with the discovery of universal hash functions, many researchers have studied to what extent this theoretical ideal can be realized by hash functions that do not take up too much space and can be evaluated quickly. In this paper we present an almost ideal solution to this problem: A hash function that, on any set of n inputs, behaves like a truly random function with high probability, can be evaluated in constant time on a RAM, and can be stored in O(n) words, which is optimal. For many hashing schemes this is the first hash function that makes their uniform hashing analysis come true, with high probability, without incurring overhead in time or space.
On the power of two choices: balls and bins in continuous time
, 2005
"... Suppose that there are n bins, and balls arrive in a Poisson process at rate λn, whereλ>0 is a constant. Upon arrival, each ball chooses a fixed number d of random bins, and is placed into one with least load. Balls have independent exponential lifetimes with unit mean. We show that the system conve ..."
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Cited by 11 (2 self)
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Suppose that there are n bins, and balls arrive in a Poisson process at rate λn, whereλ>0 is a constant. Upon arrival, each ball chooses a fixed number d of random bins, and is placed into one with least load. Balls have independent exponential lifetimes with unit mean. We show that the system converges rapidly to its equilibrium distribution; and when d ≥ 2, there is an integervalued function md(n) = ln ln n/ln d + O(1) such that, in the equilibrium distribution, the maximum load of a bin is concentrated on the two values md(n) and md(n) − 1, with probability tending to 1, as n →∞. We show also that the maximum load usually does not vary by more than a constant amount from ln ln n/ln d, even over quite long periods of time. 1. Introduction. Ballsandbins processes have been useful for modeling and analyzing a wide range of problems, in discrete mathematics, computer science and communication theory, and, in particular, for problems which involve load sharing, see, for example, [4, 5, 12, 15–17, 22]. Here is one central result, from [3]. Let d be a fixed integer at least 2. Suppose that there are n bins, and n balls arrive