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- Design of competitive paging algorithms with good behaviour in practice (2013)
- Paging is one of the most prominent problems in the field of online algorithms. We have to serve a sequence of page requests using a cache that can hold up to k pages. If the currently requested page is in cache we have a cache hit, otherwise we say that a cache miss occurs, and the requested page needs to be loaded into the cache. The goal is to minimize the number of cache misses by providing a good page-replacement strategy. This problem is part of memory-management when data is stored in a two-level memory hierarchy, more precisely a small and fast memory (cache) and a slow but large memory (disk). The most important application area is the virtual memory management of operating systems. Accessed pages are either already in the RAM or need to be loaded from the hard disk into the RAM using expensive I/O. The time needed to access the RAM is insignificant compared to an I/O operation which takes several milliseconds. The traditional evaluation framework for online algorithms is competitive analysis where the online algorithm is compared to the optimal offline solution. A shortcoming of competitive analysis consists of its too pessimistic worst-case guarantees. For example LRU has a theoretical competitive ratio of k but in practice this ratio rarely exceeds the value 4. Reducing the gap between theory and practice has been a hot research issue during the last years. More recent evaluation models have been used to prove that LRU is an optimal online algorithm or part of a class of optimal algorithms respectively, which was motivated by the assumption that LRU is one of the best algorithms in practice. Most of the newer models make LRU-friendly assumptions regarding the input, thus not leaving much room for new algorithms. Only few works in the field of online paging have introduced new algorithms which can compete with LRU as regards the small number of cache misses. In the first part of this thesis we study strongly competitive randomized paging algorithms, i.e. algorithms with optimal competitive guarantees. Although the tight bound for the competitive ratio has been known for decades, current algorithms matching this bound are complex and have high running times and memory requirements. We propose the algorithm OnlineMin which processes a page request in O(log k/log log k) time in the worst case. The best previously known solution requires O(k^2) time. Usually the memory requirement of a paging algorithm is measured by the maximum number of pages that the algorithm keeps track of. Any algorithm stores information about the k pages in the cache. In addition it can also store information about pages not in cache, denoted bookmarks. We answer the open question of Bein et al. '07 whether strongly competitive randomized paging algorithms using only o(k) bookmarks exist or not. To do so we modify the Partition algorithm of McGeoch and Sleator '85 which has an unbounded bookmark complexity, and obtain Partition2 which uses O(k/log k) bookmarks. In the second part we extract ideas from theoretical analysis of randomized paging algorithms in order to design deterministic algorithms that perform well in practice. We refine competitive analysis by introducing the attack rate parameter r, which ranges between 1 and k. We show that r is a tight bound on the competitive ratio of deterministic algorithms. We give empirical evidence that r is usually much smaller than k and thus r-competitive algorithms have a reasonable performance on real-world traces. By introducing the r-competitive priority-based algorithm class OnOPT we obtain a collection of promising algorithms to beat the LRU-standard. We single out the new algorithm RDM and show that it outperforms LRU and some of its variants on a wide range of real-world traces. Since RDM is more complex than LRU one may think at first sight that the gain in terms of lowering the number of cache misses is ruined by high runtime for processing pages. We engineer a fast implementation of RDM, and compare it to LRU and the very fast FIFO algorithm in an overall evaluation scheme, where we measure the runtime of the algorithms and add penalties for each cache miss. Experimental results show that for realistic penalties RDM still outperforms these two algorithms even if we grant the competitors an idealistic runtime of 0.

- Online paging for flash memory devices (2009)
- We propose a variation of online paging in two-level memory systems where pages in the fast cache get modified and therefore have to be explicitly written back to the slow memory upon evictions. For increased performance, up to alpha arbitrary pages can be moved from the cache to the slow memory within a single joint eviction, whereas fetching pages from the slow memory is still performed on a one-by-one basis. The main objective in this new alpha-paging scenario is to bound the number of evictions. After providing experimental evidence that alpha-paging can adequately model flash-memory devices in the context of translation layers we turn to the theoretical connections between alpha-paging and standard paging. We give lower bounds for deterministic and randomized alpha-paging algorithms. For deterministic algorithms, we show that an adaptation of LRU is strongly competitive, while for the randomized case we show that by adapting the classical Mark algorithm we get an algorithm with a competitive ratio larger than the lower bound by a multiplicative factor of approximately 1.7.