Adapting iterative-improvement heuristics for scheduling file-sharing tasks on heterogeneous platforms

Kamer Kaya, Bora Uçar, and Cevdet Aykanat

Summary. We consider the problem of scheduling an application on a computing system consisting of heterogeneous processors and one or more file repositories. The application consists of a large number of file-sharing, otherwise independent tasks. The files initially reside on the repositories. The interconnection network is heterogeneous. We focus on two disjoint problem cases. In the first case, there is only one file repository which is called as the master processor. In the second case, there are two or more repositories, each holding a distinct set of files. The problem is to assign the tasks to the processors, to schedule the file transfers from the repositories, and to order the executions of tasks on each processor in such a way that the turnaround time is minimized.

This chapter surveys several solution techniques; but the stress is on our two recent works. At the first glance, iterative-improvement-based heuristics do not seem to be suitable for the aforementioned scheduling problems. This is because their immediate application suggests iteratively improving a complete schedule, and hence building and exploring a complex neighborhood around the current schedule. Such complex neighborhood structures usually render the heuristics time-consuming and make them stuck to a part of the search space. However, in both of the our recent works, we show that these issues can be solved by using a three-phase approach: initial task assignment, refinement, and execution ordering. The main thrust of these two works is that iterative-improve-based heuristics can efficiently deliver effective solutions, implying that iterative-improve-based heuristics can provide highly competitive solutions to the similar scheduling problems.

Key words. Scheduling file-sharing tasks, iterative-improvement heuristics, heterogeneous platforms, neighborhood exploration.