Optimal Scheduling of Age-centric Caching: Tractability and Computation

Ghafour Ahani, Di Yuan

The notion of age of information (AoI) has become an important performance metric in network and control systems. Information freshness, represented by AoI, naturally arises in the context of caching. We address optimal scheduling of cache updates for a time-slotted system where the contents vary in size. There is limited capacity for the cache and for making content updates. Each content is associated with a utility function that is monotonically decreasing in the AoI. For this combinatorial optimization problem, we present the following contributions. First, we provide theoretical results settling the boundary of problem tractability. In particular, by a reformulation using network flows, we prove the boundary is essentially determined by whether or not the contents are of equal size. Second, we derive an integer linear formulation for the problem, of which the optimal solution can be obtained for small-scale scenarios. Next, via a mathematical reformulation, we derive a scalable optimization algorithm using repeated column generation. In addition, the algorithm computes a bound of global optimum, that can be used to assess the performance of any scheduling solution. Performance evaluation of large-scale scenarios demonstrates the strengths of the algorithm in comparison to a greedy schedule. Finally, we extend the applicability of our work to cyclic scheduling.

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