Competitive Ratio Analysis of Online Algorithms to Minimize Data Transmission Time in Energy Harvesting Communication System

Rahul Vaze

We consider the optimal online packet scheduling problem in a single-user energy harvesting wireless communication system, where energy is harvested from natural renewable sources, making future energy arrivals instants and amounts random in nature. The most general case of arbitrary energy arrivals is considered where neither the future energy arrival instants or amount, nor their distribution is known. The problem considered is to adaptively change the transmission rate according to the causal energy arrival information, such that the time by which all packets are delivered is minimized. We assume that all bits have arrived and are ready at the source before the transmission begins. For a minimization problem, the utility of an online algorithm is tested by finding its competitive ratio or competitiveness that is defined to be the maximum of the ratio of the gain of the online algorithm with the optimal offline algorithm over all input sequences. We derive a lower and upper bound on the competitive ratio of any online algorithm to minimize the total transmission time in an energy harvesting system. The upper bound is obtained using a `lazy' transmission policy that chooses its transmission power to minimize the transmission time assuming that no further energy arrivals are going to occur in future. The lazy transmission policy is shown to be strictly two-competitive. We also derive an adversarial lower bound that shows that competitive ratio of any online algorithm is at least 1.325.

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