Optimal Scheduling of Contract Algorithms with Soft Deadlines

Speaker: Angele Hamel, Wilfid Laurier University

A contract algorithm is an algorithm which is given, as part of its input, a specified amount of allowable computation time. In contrast, interruptible algorithms may be interrupted throughout their execution, at which point they must report their current solution. Simulating interruptible algorithms by means of schedules of executions of contract algorithms in parallel processors is a well-studied problem with significant applications in AI.

In the classical case, the interruptions are hard deadlines in which a solution must be reported immediately at the time the interruption occurs. In this paper we study the more general setting of scheduling contract algorithms at the presence of soft deadlines. This is motivated by the observation of practitioners that soft deadlines are as common an occurrence as hard deadlines, if not more common. In our setting, at the time t of interruption the algorithm is given an additional window of time w(t) <= ct to continue the contract or, indeed, start a new contract (for some fixed constant c). We explore this variation using the acceleration ratio, which is the canonical measure of performance for these schedules, and derive schedules of optimal acceleration ratio for all functions w. This is joint work with Spyros Angelopoulos and Alex Lopez-Ortiz.