Distributed Selfish Coaching
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Although cooperation generally increases the amount of resources available to a community of nodes, thus improving individual and collective performance, it also allows for the appearance of potential mistreatment problems through the exposition of one node's resources to others. We study such concerns by considering a group of independent, rational, self-aware nodes that cooperate using on-line caching algorithms, where the exposed resource is the storage at each node. Motivated by content networking applications -- including web caching, CDNs, and P2P -- this paper extends our previous work on the on-line version of the problem, which was conducted under a game-theoretic framework, and limited to object replication. We identify and investigate two causes of mistreatment: (1) cache state interactions (due to the cooperative servicing of requests) and (2) the adoption of a common scheme for cache management policies. Using analytic models, numerical solutions of these models, as well as simulation experiments, we show that on-line cooperation schemes using caching are fairly robust to mistreatment caused by state interactions. To appear in a substantial manner, the interaction through the exchange of miss-streams has to be very intense, making it feasible for the mistreated nodes to detect and react to exploitation. This robustness ceases to exist when nodes fetch and store objects in response to remote requests, i.e., when they operate as Level-2 caches (or proxies) for other nodes. Regarding mistreatment due to a common scheme, we show that this can easily take place when the "outlier" characteristics of some of the nodes get overlooked. This finding underscores the importance of allowing cooperative caching nodes the flexibility of choosing from a diverse set of schemes to fit the peculiarities of individual nodes. To that end, we outline an emulation-based framework for the development of mistreatment-resilient distributed selfish caching schemes. Our framework utilizes a simple control-theoretic approach to dynamically parameterize the cache management scheme. We show performance evaluation results that quantify the benefits from instantiating such a framework, which could be substantial under skewed demand profiles.