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New algorithms for the disk scheduling problem

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3 Author(s)
Andrews, M. ; Lab. for Comput. Sci., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Bender, M.A. ; Zhang, L.

Processor speed and memory capacity are increasing several times faster than disk speed. This disparity suggests that disk I/O performance will become an important bottleneck. Methods are needed for using disks more efficiently. Past analysis of disk scheduling algorithms has largely been experimental and little attempt has been made to develop algorithms with provable performance guarantees. We consider the following disk scheduling problem. Given a set of requests on a computer disk and a convex reachability function which determines how fast the disk head travels between tracks, our goal is to schedule the disk head so that it services all the requests in the shortest time possible. We present a 3/2-approximation algorithm (with a constant additive term). For the special case in which the reachability function is linear we present an optimal polynomial-time solution. The disk scheduling problem is related to the special case of the asymmetric Traveling Salesman Problem with the triangle inequality (ATSP-Δ) in which all distances are either 0 or some constant α. We show how to find the optimal tour in polynomial time and describe how this gives another approximation algorithm for the disk scheduling problem. Finally we consider the on-line version of the problem in which uniformly-distributed requests arrive over time. We present an algorithm (related to the above ATSP-Δ) that appears to give higher throughput than previously existing head scheduling algorithms

Published in:

Foundations of Computer Science, 1996. Proceedings., 37th Annual Symposium on

Date of Conference:

14-16 Oct 1996

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