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A load balancing relay selection algorithm (LB-RS) is presented for relay based cellular networks. According to current user channel conditions as well as the user numbers that relay serves, LB-RS chooses the optimal relay node for each user in a distributed way. Simulation results demonstrate that compared with other relay selection schemes, LB-RS can achieve load balancing through effective relay selection method. This is realized by jointly consider physical layer parameters as well as MAC layer parameters, so as to obtain a tradeoff between the system throughput and the user equity.