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MISTA 2009

An Owner-centric Metric for the Evaluation of Online Job


Schedules
Uwe Schwiegelshohn
Abstract The paper presents a metric that is well suited to evaluate online job sched-
ules for massively parallel processors. We point out the disadvantages of commonly
used metrics like makespan or machine utilization. We suggest to use the well known
total weighted completion time metric with an appropriate selection of job weights and
show that this metric exhibits many properties that are similar to the properties of the
makespan objective. In addition, it also supports the evaluation of online schedules and
allows extensions to consider additional job based system policies. Our performance
evaluation of this metric is based on competitive analysis.
1 Background
The common notation for theoretical scheduling problems (||) was introduced by
Graham et al. [1] and describes the elds machine environment (), job characteris-
tics (), and objective function (). The job characteristics dene the feasibility of a
schedule while the objective function discriminates the feasible schedules. The objective
function is based upon a metric that allows an ordering of the feasible schedules.
In practice, it is not always possible to determine which one of two given feasible
schedules is better as many real world problems are multi-criteria problems. Moreover,
it is sometimes dicult to nd a metric for some objectives, like, for instance, the
requirement of a robust schedule that maintains the same or a similar good objec-
tive value if some job characteristics change slightly. Nevertheless, in order to design
good scheduling algorithms, we need a metric that represents the practical objectives
in a suitable fashion. However, after introducing such a metric, we must prevent that
this metric becomes an objective for its own sake. Instead we should repeatedly check
whether the metric still satises its original purpose. This is particularly true when
new or modied scheduling problems with new machine models or new job character-
istics appear. Then we should be careful before transferring an old metric to the new
problem. But using an established metric often allows us to apply existing algorithms
Uwe Schwiegelshohn
Robotics Research Institute, TU Dortmund University
E-mail: uwe.schwiegelshohn@udo.edu
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
557
and analysis methods. Therefore, it may be benecial to start with a well known metric
to obtain rst hints regarding the structure of good schedules.
In this paper, we exemplarily consider a simple but practically relevant job schedul-
ing problem: Scheduling of compute jobs on a massively parallel compute system like a
cluster. Such a cluster can usually be expressed with the help of the identical machine
model P
m
and typically executes its jobs in space sharing mode, that is, it exclusively
allocates a certain number of processors (or nodes or cores) to a job. The compute jobs
may exhibit dierent forms of parallelism, like rigid and malleable, see the denitions
provided by Feitelson et al. [2]. Informally, a rigid job keeps the same machine allo-
cation during its execution while a malleable job can increase or decrease its degree
of parallelism depending on the availability of machines. However, the workload of a
malleable job may be a function of the actual degree of parallelism. If the workload is
invariant of the number of allocated processors, we talk about divisible load scheduling,
see Bharadwaj et al. [3].
Typically, many users independently submit their jobs to the cluster of a compute
center over time. Therefore, the compute system is not aware of any precedence relation
between any two jobs even if there is one. Further, we have an online scenario as the
compute system has no knowledge about future job submissions. Finally, the system
usually does not know the processing time of the job. It is true that many scheduling
systems require users to provide runtime estimates for their jobs. But these estimates
are supposed to protect resources (and users) from wasting resource time by faulty jobs
as a job is typically aborted once it reaches its estimate. Nevertheless, some scheduling
approaches like backlling, see Lifka [4], use these estimates to generate better sched-
ules. However, Lee et al.[5] have shown that these estimates are often very inaccurate
eectively producing scheduling problems with some nonclairvoyant character.
The evaluation of a schedule requires a metric. This metric must satisfy two main
conditions:
1. It must appropriately represent the goals of the resource owner and/or the users.
2. It must allow a quantitative evaluation of the schedule.
In the job scheduling scenario, users are interested to receive the (correct) results of
jobs as early as possible and to pay as little as possible for the (reliable) execution of
their jobs. Note that the exact relationship between response time and cost may not
be a linear function. For instance, a user may be eager to receive the result before she
leaves work in the evening but if this is not possible, it is sucient that the result
is available when she arrives next morning. Moreover, the time and the price criteria
are likely to interfere with each other generating a bicriteria optimization problem that
requires some form of compromise. The problem of dening an appropriate user-centric
metric has been subject of previous research, see Lee and Snavely [6]. On the other
hand, resource owners want to receive the largest possible return for providing their
resources. To this end, they may assign users to dierent user groups and give dierent
priorities to these groups according to the agreed price in case of any resource shortage.
In this paper, we do not consider the users but the owners point of view and
start with the assumption that there are no user priorities, that is, the price for a unit
of consumed processor resources is xed. Hence, the owner is mainly interested in a
high system utilization. The utilization of a machine within a given time interval is the
ratio of the total compute time used by all jobs to the total available compute time.
But utilization is traditionally not the method of choice in theoretical job scheduling
problems. Instead, the makespan criterion C
max
is commonly selected. As the makespan
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
558
of a schedule is the last completion time of any job in this schedule there is a close
relationship to utilization: x percent reduction in the makespan corresponds to
x
100%x
percent increase in utilization. But note that we must compare dierent intervals to
determine this change.
In addition to the above mentioned major properties, a suitable metric often also
possesses secondary characteristics:
1. It allows an easy evaluation.
2. It supports extensions to more complex criteria dened by the participants within
the scenario.
An easy evaluation is particularly important in online scheduling problems where the
schedule does not really end. For instance, if the scheduling system uses a rule based
approach, see, for instance, Franke et al. [7], it must continuously evaluate the schedule
in order to determine when to switch to another set of rules. In this case, the metric
should reliably describe the most recent part of the schedule. Further, once a suitable
solution to the scheduling system has been obtained, participants (owner and users)
often tend to look for an even better approximation of their actual goals by incorpo-
rating secondary objectives. A suitable metric would allow such an extension without
requiring a completely new design process.
Unfortunately, the secondary goals are not met by the makespan objective for
online schedules of parallel machines. For instance, the last job may have a signicant
inuence on the quality of the schedule. Let us assume that a schedule achieves 100%
utilization for the last k jobs, that is, the schedule has a minimal makespan and optimal
load balance. However, the next job immediately changes this picture: Particularly if
this next job has a suciently large processing time the resulting makespan may be as
bad as a factor of almost 2 away from the optimum for systems with many processors,
see Graham [8] and Fig. 1. Note that in Fig. 1, as in all graphical representations of
schedules in this paper, the vertical and horizontal axis denote time and machines,
respectively. To support a better intuitive understanding of the gures, we represent a
rigid parallel job as single rectangle although the processors need not be allocated in a
contiguous fashion. Moreover as the makespan metric is based on the completion time
of one job only, it cannot be simply extended to address user groups.
(a) (b) (c)
Fig. 1 Online schedules with k jobs (a) and with k +1 jobs (b); optimal makespan schedule
with k + 1 jobs (c)
Alternatively, we can directly use utilization as our objective. In order to avoid the
rst problem with the makespan metric, we may select an interval that ends at the
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
559
actual time. This is a good approach if we have no information about the processing
time of actually running jobs (nonclairvoyant scheduling). However, it does not allow
the consideration of processing time estimates. Further, it is not possible to extend the
utilization metric in a simple fashion to distinguish the jobs of dierent user groups.
In this paper, we present a scheduling objective that is well suited to evaluate
online job schedules of massively parallel processors. We start with another objective
frequently applied in theoretical scheduling problems: Total completion time. It is the
sum of the completion times of all jobs in a schedule S. This objective considers each
individual job separately but is biased towards some jobs: Fig. 2 shows that the left
schedule has a signicant lower total completion time than the right schedule although
the utilization in both schedules is the same. Clearly, the total completion time ob-
jective favors sequential jobs over parallel jobs if they have the same processing time.
Therefore, a user will benet if he can split his parallel job into many sequential jobs
although he requires the same total computation time in both cases. The same is true if
he splits a long running job into many short running jobs (with precedence constraints).
4
1
C
j
= 14 C
j
= 43
3
4
Fig. 2 Total completion time of 2 schedules with a parallel und several sequential jobs
However, we are interested in a metric that does not automatically provide a pref-
erential treatment to short or long, parallel or sequential jobs. In our view, a basic
owner-centric objective should primarily be neutral regarding job characteristics. In
addition, the objective should enable extensions to consider the policy of the specic
system. Therefore, we use the total weighted completion time metric with the resource
consumption (processing time times parallelism for rigid jobs) of a job being its weight.
This metric guarantees the desired neutrality. Then it is up to the system owner to as-
sure preference of certain jobs by modifying the weights accordingly. This modication
may be based on any job characteristic.
There are only very few results regarding the performance of simple algorithms with
respect to this metric. For sequential jobs, this weight selection is similar to the l
2
-norm
that has already been subject of several studies, see Bansal and Pruhs [9] or Avidor
et al. [10]. Schwiegelshohn and Yahyapour [11] have also used this metric to guarantee
fairness in preemptive scheduling of rigid parallel jobs. In this paper, we evaluate this
metric for nonclairvoyant sequential and rigid parallel jobs on a machine with parallel
identical processors (P
m
-model). To this end, we use the competitive analysis, that is,
we determine for all input sets the maximal deviation of a generated schedule from the
corresponding optimal schedule with respect to this metric. The competitive factor is
the largest ratio between these two values, see Section 2. We compare this competitive
factor with the corresponding value obtained for the conventional makespan objective.
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
560
2 Denitions and Previous Results
In our basic scenario, we use the P
m
machine environment, that is, all m processors
of a parallel machine are identical. Occasionally, we also refer to the single machine
environment ( = 1) as a reference. Our jobs are either sequential or rigid ( = size
j
).
A rigid parallel job J
j
requires the concurrent availability of size
j
processors during
its whole execution. These size
j
processors must be exclusively allocated to job J
j
.
Further, jobs are submitted over time ( = r
j
), that is, job J
j
is unknown before
its release date r
j
. Again as a reference, we also discuss problems with all jobs being
released at time 0. Contrary to other online problems, we do not demand that all
size
j
processors are assigned to a job J
j
at its submission date. Instead the processor-
job allocation is delayed until the required number of processors is actually available.
Moreover, we assume that the processing time p
j
of job J
j
becomes only known once the
job has nished its execution, that is, we consider nonclairvoyant scheduling ( = ncv).
If all jobs are sequential or released at time 0 the problem notation does not use the
constraints = size
j
or = r
j
, respectively.
C
j
(S) denotes the completion time of job J
j
in schedule S. If the schedule is
nonambiguous then we omit S. Our primary schedule objective is the total weighted
completion time with the weight of job J
j
being its resource consumption p
j
size
j
:
=

p
j
size
j
C
j
. As reference problems we use corresponding problems with the
makespan objective C
max
= max
j
{C
j
} that have extensively been discussed in earlier
publications.
For a given scheduling algorithm, we determine upper bounds for the ratio

j
p
j
size
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
size
j
C
j
(OPT)
with S and OPT being the schedules produced by the algorithm
and the optimal schedule, respectively. This bound is called an approximation factor
for deterministic scheduling problems and a competitive factor for online problems.
Note that this is a worst case evaluation. An algorithm may perform much better in
case of a real workload. Nevertheless, a worst case analysis may provide interesting
information about possible bad situations.
For the total weighted completion time problem on a single processor 1||

w
j
C
j
without release dates, a nondelay scheduling in descending order of the Smith ratio
w
j
p
j
generates an optimal schedule. We say that a schedule is nondelay, if no processor is
kept idle while a job is waiting, see Pinedo [12]. Therefore, any nondelay schedule is
optimal for the 1|ncv|

p
j
C
j
problem. This also holds for the corresponding online
problem 1|r
j
, ncv|

p
j
C
j
while the problem with arbitrary weights (1|r
j
|

w
j
C
j
)
is NP-hard in the strong sense. Concluding, we can state that the objective

p
j
C
j
produces the same results as the makespan objective for single processors. Remember
that although the processing time is part of the objective, its knowledge is not required
by the algorithm. In the next section, we address machines with parallel identical
processors.
3 Parallel Machines and Sequential Jobs
The problem P
m
||C
max
is strongly NP-hard for m 3. List scheduling with an ar-
bitrary list order guarantees the approximation factor 2
1
m
, see Graham [8]. This
approximation factor is tight for nonclairvoyant scheduling. This result also holds for
oine and online problems with rigid parallel jobs, see Graham [13] and Naroska
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
561
and Schwiegelshohn [14], respectively. The problem P
m
||

p
j
C
j
is NP-hard as parti-
tion reduces to P2||

p
j
C
j
. List scheduling with an arbitrary list order guarantees a
tight approximation factor of
1+

2
2
for this problem, see Kawaguchi and Kyan [15].
Schwiegelshohn and Yahyapour [11] showed a competitive factor of 2 for the problem
P
m
|r
j
, size
j
, ncv|

p
j
C
j
if size
j

m
2
holds for all jobs. While this demonstrates the
existence of a constant competitive factor for the problem P
m
|r
j
, ncv|

p
j
C
j
, the gap
between the upper bound 2 and the lower bound
1+

2
2
is still rather large. In this
section, we close this gap signicantly.
Theorem 1 List scheduling has a competitive factor of at most 1.25 for the problem
P
m
|r
j
, ncv|

p
j
C
j
.
Before presenting the proof for this problem, we use a lemma that has already been
introduced as Corollary 6 in a publication by Schwiegelshohn and Yahyapour [11]:
Lemma 1 Let S and OPT be a legal schedule and the optimal schedule of an arbitrary
problem instance P
m
|r
j
|

p
j
C
j
with n jobs, respectively. We split an arbitrary job J
k
into two jobs J
n+1
and J
n+2
such that 0 < p
n+1
< p
k
, p
n+2
= p
k
p
n+1
, r
n+1
= r
k
,
and r
n+2
= r
k
+ p
n+1
hold. Schedule S

is derived from schedule S by replacing the


execution of job J
k
with the execution of job J
n+1
immediately followed by the execution
of job J
n+2
.
This results in

j
p
j
C
j
(S

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
.
Although Lemma 1 always produces legal schedules the resulting schedule need not
be nondelay, see the example of Fig. 3 that describes a system with all original jobs
being released at time 0. There, splitting of the long job does not yield a nondelay
schedule.
(a) (b)
Fig. 3 Nondelay schedule (a) and schedule after job splitting (b)
We can use Lemma 1 to transform an arbitrary schedule into a target schedule: We
split every job J
j
if p
j
> and the splitting does not lead to a nondelay schedule. Due to
Lemma 1, it is sucient to consider this type of schedule to determine the competitive
factor of nondelay schedules. Finally, we reduce the release dates of each job without
changing the schedule until any further reduction would violate the nondelay property
of this schedule. As this reduction cannot increase the total completion time of the
optimal schedule the ratio

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
cannot decrease. Now, a target schedule
contains short jobs (p
j
) and long jobs (p
j
> ), and has four main properties:
1. The schedule is nondelay.
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
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562
2. At least one machine is idle at the starting time of every long job.
3. For every long job J
j
and every positive value r
j
< t < r
j
+ p
j
, there is at least
one processor idle at some time instance of the interval [t, t + C
j
(S) r
j
p
j
).
4. All jobs that start in an interval (including the boundaries) without any idle pro-
cessor have the same release date.
If the second property does not hold then we can split a long job at time C
j
(S)p
j
+.
If the third property does not hold then we can split a long job J
j
at time t +C
j
(S)
r
j
p
j
, see Fig. 4. If the fourth property does not hold then we can further reduce the
release date of a job.
For any target schedule S, we consider a nondelay schedule OPT that starts all long
jobs at their release dates. Due to the properties of target schedules, such a schedule
always exists: The rst property of schedule S guarantees that for a long job J
i
, all
processors are busy in the interval [r
i
, C
i
(S) p
i
). Assume that job J
i
and a long job
J
j
with r
j
< r
i
are executed on the same processor in schedule S. Then the inequality
r
j
+ p
j
> r
i
violates the third property of target schedules, see Fig. 5. Therefore, no
long job J
j
that starts at r
j
can prevent the next long job on this processor to start at
its release date as well. For reasons of convexity, schedule OPT has the minimal total
completion time if all short jobs have the same processing time. This can be achieved
with an arbitrarily small deviation if is small enough.
J
j

r
j
t
Fig. 4 Splitting of a long job in a busy interval
J
i
J
j
r
i
r
j
Fig. 5 Rearranging long jobs in a schedule
Now we describe the proof of Theorem 1:
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
563
Proof We use induction on the number of dierent release dates. Problem P
m
||

p
j
C
j
is the basis of the proof as
1+

2
2
< 1.25 holds. As hypothesis we assume that Theorem 1
is correct for all problem instances with at most i dierent release dates. Next we
consider an arbitrary problem instance with i +1 dierent release dates and a nondelay
target schedule S. Let r be the maximum release date and = {J
j
|r
j
= r} be the set
of jobs that are released at time r.
Due to the fourth property of target schedules, no job J
j
with r
j
< r starts at time
r or later. Let t
s
(S) be the last start time of any job in schedule S.
The processing time of any job J
j
with r
j
< r, p
j
> r r
j
, and is reduced to r r
j
.
This reduction does not decrease the completion time of any job J
i
in schedule S
while it cannot increase the contribution of jobs in to the total completion time of
schedule OPT. Although the ratio

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
may increase or decrease due to this
reduction, the total contribution of all jobs with a smaller release date than r remains
bounded by our hypothesis.
Now assume a job J
j
with r
j
< r, p
j
> r r
j
, and C
j
(S) t
s
(S) < p
j
+r
j
r. We
split this job into one long job with release date r
j
and processing time r r
j
and one
(long) job with release date r and processing time p
j
r + r
j
. Note that in schedule
S, this splitting occurs in the interval [r, t
s
(S)) and does not violate the nondelay
property. However, we may have to do some further splitting in order to preserve the
third property of target schedules among the jobs of . Therefore, no long job J
j
with
r
j
< r can complete after time r in schedule OPT.
If some short jobs complete after time r in schedule OPT although they have been
submitted before r then we simply split a long job J
i
with r
i
< r and r < C
i
(S)
at some time in the interval [r, t
s
(S)] such that no job J
j
completes after time r in
schedule OPT. Observe that this splitting reduces the total processor-time product
of all jobs submitted before r. To exactly achieve the desired result, we may have to
repeat this splitting or to (repeatedly) duplicate the number of machines and all jobs.
The latter procedure does not change the ratio

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
.
With W
r
being the total processor-time product of all jobs with a release date
smaller than r in the interval [r, ) of schedule S we assume that these jobs completely
occupy the interval [r, r +
W
r
m
), see Fig. 6. This can only increase the total completion
time contribution of jobs J
i
in schedule S. Now, we use the utilization bound
4
3
of Hussein and Schwiegelshohn [16]. This leads to W
r

1
4
m r.
r
(a)
r
(b)
Fig. 6 Schedule S (a) and assumed processor occupation (b)
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
564
Finally, we can combine the total completion times to obtain the desired result:

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
=

J
j

p
j
C
j
(S) +

J
j

p
j
C
j
(S)

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT) +

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT)
<

J
j

p
j
(C
j
(S) 1.25r) + 1.25r

J
j

p
j
+ 1.25

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT)

J
j

p
j
(C
j
(OPT) r) + r

J
j

p
j
+

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT)

1+

2
2

J
j

p
j
(C
j
(OPT) r) + 1.25r

J
j

p
j
+ 1.25

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT)

J
j

p
j
(C
j
(OPT) r) + r

J
j

p
j
+

J
j

p
j
C
j
(OPT)
< 1.25
The determined competitive factor for the problem P
m
|r
j
, ncv|

p
j
C
j
is 1.25 while
1+

2
2
1.207 is a lower bound. Therefore, the gap is small (< 0.05).
4 Parallel Machines and Parallel Jobs
In this section, we address rigid parallel jobs that require a xed number of processors
during all of their processing time. We use the notation P
m
|r
j
, size
j
, ncv|

p
j
size
j
C
j
to describe the corresponding scheduling problem. Unfortunately, List scheduling with
an arbitrary order does not perform very well for this problem contrary to the problem
P
m
|size
j
, ncv|C
max
that guarantees the tight competitive factor 2
1
m
, see Garey [13].
A simple example using only two jobs J
1
and J
2
with p
1
=

m, p
2
= 1, size
1
= 1,
and size
2
= m shows that the competitive factor of List scheduling may be as bad as
m

m+2m
2m+

m
, see Fig. 7. As both jobs cannot be executed concurrently, both schedules
have the same optimal makespan. But in an online scenario it is better to schedule the
parallel job rst as this order oers options for the scheduling of additional jobs (left
schedule). In the right schedule, any idle processor in the interval [0,

m) can only be
utilized by the backlling method [4]. But backlling requires at least an estimate of
the processing times. Therefore, the new objective allows to distinguish between these
two schedules in an intuitive fashion.
1
(a) (b)
1 m + 1 m +
m
Fig. 7 Optimal schedule (a) and bad List schedule (b)
However, we can guarantee acceptable solutions for the problem
P
m
|size
j
, ncv|

p
j
size
j
C
j
by sorting the jobs in descending order of their degree of
parallelism (size
j
) before applying List scheduling.
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
565
Theorem 2 List scheduling in descending order of the size
j
value has an approxima-
tion factor of 2 for the problem P
m
|size
j
, ncv|

p
j
size
j
C
j
.
Again we use a well known lemma, see Queyranne [17], before presenting the proof
for Theorem 2.
Lemma 2 Let S be a nondelay schedule for the problem 1|ncv|

p
j
C
j
. Then we have

j
p
j
C
j
(S) =
1
2
((

j
p
j
)
2
+

j
p
2
j
).
Lemma 2 conrms our previous statement that the objective value of nondelay
schedules for the problem 1|ncv|

p
j
C
j
is independent of the scheduling order. Now,
we return to the proof of Theorem 2.
Proof Let t
s
(S) be the rst time instance at which at most
m
2
processors are used.
Then no job can start later than t
s
(S). Let be the set of all jobs that start at time
t
s
(S), and let job J
i
be the job with the smallest size
j
value among all jobs in . Due
to List scheduling, there are less than size
i
processors idle at any time instance in the
interval [0, t
s
(S)). Next we use several steps to transform schedule S ((a) in Fig.8).
1. We split every job J
j
into size
j
sequential jobs with the same processing time
((b) in Fig.8). Note that the resulting schedule is not a nondelay schedule anymore.
This transformation does not change the objective value of schedule S while the
corresponding value of the optimal schedule cannot increase.
2. We apply Lemma 1 until no job that completes before t
s
(S) has a larger processing
time than ((c) in Fig.8). This may add further jobs to and transforms schedule
S into schedule S

.
3. We combine all jobs in into a single job J
k
with p
k
=

J
j

p
2
j

J
j

p
j
and size
k
=
(

J
j

p
j
)
2

J
j

p
2
j
((d) in Fig.8). Note that size
k
size
i
holds.
Further, we rearrange schedule S

such that exactly msize


k
processors are used
at any time instance before job J
k
starts. This rearrangement produces schedule
S

and results in t
s
(S

) t
s
(S) ((e) in Fig.8). Therefore, the objective value of
schedule S

cannot decrease while the objective value of the optimal schedule after
the transformations ((f) in Fig.8) cannot increase due to reasons of convexity, see
Lemma 2.
Finally, we must determine the worst case values for p
k
and size
k
as functions of
m and t
s
(S

). Using Lemma 2, this leads to a rather simple numerical optimization


problem and produces the approximation factor 2 for 0, p
k
= 0, and size
k
=
m
2
.
The following example shows that the approximation factor is tight for this algo-
rithm.
Example 1 Assume a problem instance with 2k + 2 jobs and an even number of pro-
cessors m:
Job J
1
with p
1
= 1 and size
1
= m1;
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
566
(a)
t
s
(S)
t
s
(S)
(b) (c)
(e) (f)
t
s
(S)
(d)
Fig. 8 Transformation steps of the proof of Theorem 2
Jobs J
2
to J
2k+1
with p
j
= 1 and size
j
=
m
2
;
Job J
2k+2
with p
2k+2
= 2k.
List scheduling produces schedule S and starts jobs J
1
and J
2k+2
concurrently at time
0. Afterwards jobs J
2
to J
2k+1
are scheduled one after the other in a nondelay fashion,
see the left schedule in Fig. 9. The optimal schedule OPT will schedule jobs J
2
to
J
2k+1
in pairs rst and start jobs J
1
and J
2k+2
at time k, see the right schedule in
Fig. 9. With the help of Lemma 2, this leads to
lim
m,k

j
p
j
C
j
(S)

j
p
j
C
j
(OPT)
= 2
1
(a)
(b)
2k
1
2k
Fig. 9 Worst case example for List scheduling in descending order of the size
j
parameter
Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications (MISTA 2009)
10-12 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland
567
Unfortunately, List scheduling in descending order of the size
j
value is not applica-
ble for the problem P
m
|r
j
, size
j
, ncv|

p
j
size
j
C
j
as the nondelay property may lead
to a preferred scheduling of sequential jobs and therefore highly parallel jobs may be
subject to starvation despite the order of the list. Moreover, there is no algorithm with
a constant competitive factor as demonstrated by Theorem 3.
Theorem 3 The lower bound of the competitive factor for the problem
P
m
|r
j
, size
j
, ncv|

p
j
size
j
C
j
approaches
m

m+2m
2m+

m
.
Proof First, the adversary submits a single job J
1
with size
1
= 1 at time 0. Eventually,
the scheduler must schedule this job to prevent an arbitrarily bad competitive factor.
Then the adversary immediately submits a parallel job J
2
with size
2
= m. Finally,
he selects the processing times of both jobs to match the example of Fig. 7 while
considering the submission time r
2
.
In practice however, this result is not really disturbing as there are only few highly
parallel jobs in real workloads. If each parallel job uses at most 50% of the processors
of a machine then simple List schedule guarantees already a competitive factor of 2,
see Schwiegelshohn and Yahyapour [11]. This competitive factor decreases further if
the bound on the parallelism of the individual jobs becomes tighter. The new metric
has the advantage that we can incorporate preferences of user groups or special jobs by
simply multiplying the weight of these jobs with an owner dened constant. Further, it
is easy to consider only recently submitted jobs in an online schedule. This enables an
online evaluation of the schedule and therefore adaptation of the scheduling strategy.
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