, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 133-150

Competitive distributed decision-making

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We study several natural problems in distributed decision-making from the standpoint of competitive analysis; in these problems incomplete information is a result of the distributed nature of the problem, as opposed to the on-line mode of decision making that was heretofore prevalent in this area. In several simple situations of distributed scheduling, the competitive ratio can be computed exactly, and the different ratios can be used as a measure of the value of information and communication between decision-makers. In a more general distributed scheduling situation, we give tight upper and lower bounds on the competitive ratio achievable in the deterministic case, and give an optimal randomized algorithm with a much better competitive ratio.

The research of Xiaotie Deng was supported by an NSERC grant and that of C. H. Papadimitriou was supported by an NSF grant.
Communicated by C. K. Wong.