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Time Fairness in Online Knapsack Problems

Adam Lechowicz · Rik Sengupta · Bo Sun · Shahin Kamali · Mohammad Hajiesmaili

Halle B #183
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Tue 7 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


The online knapsack problem is a classic problem in the field of online algorithms. Its canonical version asks how to pack items of different values and weights arriving online into a capacity-limited knapsack so as to maximize the total value of the admitted items. Although optimal competitive algorithms are known for this problem, they may be fundamentally unfair, i.e., individual items may be treated inequitably in different ways. We formalize a practically-relevant notion of time fairness which effectively models a trade off between static and dynamic pricing in a motivating application such as cloud resource allocation, and show that existing algorithms perform poorly under this metric. We propose a parameterized deterministic algorithm where the parameter precisely captures the Pareto-optimal trade-off between fairness (static pricing) and competitiveness (dynamic pricing). We show that randomization is theoretically powerful enough to be simultaneously competitive and fair; however, it does not work well in experiments. To further improve the trade-off between fairness and competitiveness, we develop a nearly-optimal learning-augmented algorithm which is fair, consistent, and robust (competitive), showing substantial performance improvements in numerical experiments.

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