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Studying Balanced Allocations with Differential Equations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1999

Digital Systems Research Center, 130 Lytton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA (e-mail:


Using differential equations, we examine the GREEDY algorithm studied by Azar, Broder, Karlin and Upfal for distributed load balancing [1]. This approach yields accurate estimates of the actual load distribution, provides insight into the exponential improvement GREEDY offers over simple random selection, and allows one to prove tight concentration theorems about the loads in a straightforward manner.

Research Article
1999 Cambridge University Press

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A preliminary version of this work appeared in the Proceedings of the 37th Annual IEEE Symposium on the Foundations of Computer Science, October 1996.