Optimal Web-Scale Tiering as a Flow Problem

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Gilbert Leung, Novi Quadrianto, Kostas Tsioutsiouliklis, Alex Smola


We present a fast online solver for large scale maximum-flow problems as they occur in portfolio optimization, inventory management, computer vision, and logistics. Our algorithm solves an integer linear program in an online fashion. It exploits total unimodularity of the constraint matrix and a Lagrangian relaxation to solve the problem as a convex online game. The algorithm generates approximate solutions of max-flow problems by performing stochastic gradient descent on a set of flows. We apply the algorithm to optimize tier arrangement of over 80 Million web pages on a layered set of caches to serve an incoming query stream optimally. We provide an empirical demonstration of the effectiveness of our method on real query-pages data.