The Cache Inference Problem and its Application to Content and Request Routing
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In many networked applications, independent caching agents cooperate by servicing each other's miss streams, without revealing the operational details of the caching mechanisms they employ. Inference of such details could be instrumental for many other processes. For example, it could be used for optimized forwarding (or routing) of one's own miss stream (or content) to available proxy caches, or for making cache-aware resource management decisions. In this paper, we introduce the Cache Inference Problem (CIP) as that of inferring the characteristics of a caching agent, given the miss stream of that agent. While CIP is insolvable in its most general form, there are special cases of practical importance in which it is, including when the request stream follows an Independent Reference Model (IRM) with generalized power-law (GPL) demand distribution. To that end, we design two basic "litmus" tests that are able to detect LFU and LRU replacement policies, the effective size of the cache and of the object universe, and the skewness of the GPL demand for objects. Using extensive experiments under synthetic as well as real traces, we show that our methods infer such characteristics accurately and quite efficiently, and that they remain robust even when the IRM/GPL assumptions do not hold, and even when the underlying replacement policies are not "pure" LFU or LRU. We exemplify the value of our inference framework by considering example applications.