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An optimal service ordering for a world wide web server


We consider alternative service policies in a web server with impatient users. User-perceived performance is modeled as an exponentially decaying function of the user's waiting time, reflecting the probability that the user aborts the download before the page is completely received. The web server is modeled as a single server queue, with Poisson arrivals and exponentially distributed file lengths. The server objective is to maximize average revenue per unit time, where each user is assumed to pay a reward proportional to the perceived performance. When file lengths are i.i.d., we prove that the optimal service policy is greedy, namely that the server should choose the job with the highest potential reward. However, when file lengths are independently drawn from a set of exponential distributions, we show the optimal policy need not be greedy; in fact, processor sharing policies sometimes outperform the best greedy policy in this case.

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