Max Contribution: An Online Approximation of Optimal Resource Allocation in Delay Tolerant Networks

In this paper, a joint optimization of link scheduling, routing and replication for delay-tolerant networks (DTNs) has been studied. The optimization problems for resource allocation in DTNs are typically solved using dynamic programming which requires knowledge of future events such as meeting schedules and durations. This paper defines a new notion of approximation to the optimality for DTNs, called snapshot approximation where nodes are not clairvoyant, i.e., not looking ahead into future events, and thus decisions are made using only contemporarily available knowledges. Unfortunately, the snapshot approximation still requires solving an NP-hard problem of maximum weighted independent set (MWIS) and a global knowledge of who currently owns a copy and what their delivery probabilities are.

This paper proposes an algorithm, Max-Contribution (MC) that approximates MWIS problem with a greedy method and its distributed online approximation algorithm, Distributed Max-Contribution (DMC) that performs scheduling, routing and replication based only on locally and contemporarily available information. Through extensive simulations based on real GPS traces tracking over 4,000 taxies and 500 taxies for about 30 days and 25 days in two different large cities, DMC is verified to perform closely to MC and outperform existing heuristically engineered resource allocation algorithms for DTNs.