Efficient Mechanism Design for Online Scheduling

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Abstract

This paper concerns the mechanism design for online scheduling in a strategic setting. In this setting, each job is owned by a self-interested agent who may misreport the release time, deadline, length, and value of her job, while we need to determine not only the schedule of the jobs, but also the payment of each agent. We focus on the design of incentive compatible (IC) mechanisms, and study the maximization of social welfare (i.e., the aggregated value of completed jobs) by competitive analysis. We first derive two lower bounds on the competitive ratio of any deterministic IC mechanism to characterize the landscape of our research. We then propose a deterministic IC mechanism and show that such a simple mechanism works very well for both the preemption-restart model and the preemption-resume model. We show the mechanism can achieve the optimal competitive ratio of 5 for equal-length jobs and a near optimal competitive ratio (within a constant factor) for unequal-length jobs.

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