Distributed Computing and Networking

This article studies the fundamental trade-off between delay and communication cost in networks. We consider an online optimization problem where nodes are organized in a tree topology. The nodes seek to minimize the time until the root is informed about the changes of their states and to use as few transmissions as possible. We derive an upper bound on the competitive ratio of O(min (h, c)) where h is the tree's height, and c is the transmission cost per edge. Moreover, we prove that this upper bound is tight in the sense that any oblivious algorithm has a ratio of at least Omega(min (h, c)). For chain networks, we prove a tight competitive ratio of Theta(min (root h, c)). Furthermore, we introduce a model for value-sensitive aggregation, where the cost depends on the number of transmissions and the error at the root.