Caching with Dual Costs


Caching mechanisms in distributed and social settings face the issue that the items can frequently change, requiring the cached ver- sions to be updated to maintain coherence. There is thus a trade-off between incurring cache misses on read requests and cache hits on update requests. Motivated by this we consider the following dual cost variant of the classical caching problem: each request for an item can be either a read or a write. If the request is read and the item is not in the cache, then a read-miss cost is incurred and if the request is write and the item is in the cache, then a write-hit cost is incurred. The goal is to design a caching algorithm that minimizes the sum of read-miss and write-hit costs. We study online and offline algorithms for this problem. For the online version of the problem, we obtain an efficient algorithm whose cost is provably close to near-optimal cost. This algorithm builds on online algorithms for classical caching and metrical task systems, using them as black boxes. For the offline ver- sion, we obtain an optimal deterministic algorithm that is based on a minimum cost flow. Experiments on real and synthetic data show that our online algorithm incurs much less cost compared to natural baselines, while utilizing cache even better; furthermore, they also show that the online algorithm is close to the offline optimum.