Semi-online machine covering for two uniform machines

Xingyu Chen, Leah Epstein, Zhiyi Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The machine covering problem deals with partitioning a sequence of jobs among a set of machines, so as to maximize the completion time of the least loaded machine. We study a semi-online variant, where jobs arrive one by one, sorted by non-increasing size. The jobs are to be processed by two uniformly related machines, with a speed ratio of q ≥ 1. Each job has to be processed continuously, in a time slot assigned to it on one of the machines. This assignment needs to be performed upon the arrival of the job. The length of the time slot, which is required for a specific job to run on a given machine, is equal to the size of the job divided by the speed of the machine. We give a complete competitive analysis of this problem by providing an algorithm of the best possible competitive ratio for every q ≥ 1. We first give a tight analysis of the performance of a natural greedy algorithm LPT for the problem. To achieve the best possible performance for the semi-online problem, we use a combination of LPT , together with two alternative algorithms which we design. The new algorithms attain the best possible competitive ratios in the two intervals q € (1, √1:5) and q € √2:4856; 1 + √ 3). respectively, whereas the greedy algorithm has the best pos- sible competitive ratio for any other q ≥ 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5047-5062
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number47-49
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Third author was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (10671177, 60021201) and Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Y607079).


  • Semi-online algorithms
  • Two-machine scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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