We study the resource augmented version of the k-server problem, also known as the k-server problem against weak adversaries or the (h,k)-server problem. In this setting, an online algorithm using k servers is compared to an offline algorithm using h servers, where h ≤ k. For uniform metrics, it has been known since the seminal work of Sleator and Tarjan (1985) that for any ">0, the competitive ratio drops to a constant if k=(1+") · h. This result was later generalized to weighted stars (Young 1994) and trees of bounded depth (Bansal et al. 2017). The main open problem for this setting is whether a similar phenomenon occurs on general metrics. We resolve this question negatively. With a simple recursive construction, we show that the competitive ratio is at least ω(loglogh), even as k→∞. Our lower bound holds for both deterministic and randomized algorithms. It also disproves the existence of a competitive algorithm for the infinite server problem on general metrics.

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Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Bienkowski, M, Byrka, J, Coester, C.E, & Jeż, L. (2020). Unbounded lower bound for k-server against weak adversaries. In Proceedings of the Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing (pp. 1165–1169). doi:10.1145/3357713.3384306