Date: 13 May 2003

On-Line Stream Merging, Max Span, and Min Coverage

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This paper introduces the notions of span and coverage for analyzing the performance of on-line algorithms for stream merging. We show that these two notions can solely determine the competitive ratio of any such algorithm. Furthermore, we devise a simple greedy algorithm that can attain the ideal span and coverage, thus giving a better performance guarantee than existing algorithms with respect to either the maximum bandwidth or the total bandwidth. The new notions also allow us to obtain a tighter analysis of existing algorithms.