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A New Approach to Capacity Scaling Augmented With Unreliable Machine Learning Predictions

by   Daan Rutten, et al.

Modern data centers suffer from immense power consumption. The erratic behavior of internet traffic forces data centers to maintain excess capacity in the form of idle servers in case the workload suddenly increases. As an idle server still consumes a significant fraction of the peak energy, data center operators have heavily invested in capacity scaling solutions. In simple terms, these aim to deactivate servers if the demand is low and to activate them again when the workload increases. To do so, an algorithm needs to strike a delicate balance between power consumption, flow-time, and switching costs. Over the last decade, the research community has developed competitive online algorithms with worst-case guarantees. In the presence of historic data patterns, prescription from Machine Learning (ML) predictions typically outperform such competitive algorithms. This, however, comes at the cost of sacrificing the robustness of performance, since unpredictable surges in the workload are not uncommon. The current work builds on the emerging paradigm of augmenting unreliable ML predictions with online algorithms to develop novel robust algorithms that enjoy the benefits of both worlds. We analyze a continuous-time model for capacity scaling, where the goal is to minimize the weighted sum of flow-time, switching cost, and power consumption in an online fashion. We propose a novel algorithm, called Adaptive Balanced Capacity Scaling (ABCS), that has access to black-box ML predictions, but is completely oblivious to the accuracy of these predictions. In particular, if the predictions turn out to be accurate in hindsight, we prove that ABCS is (1+ε)-competitive. Moreover, even when the predictions are inaccurate, ABCS guarantees a bounded competitive ratio. The performance of the ABCS algorithm on a real-world dataset positively support the theoretical results.


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