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Quan, Guocong, Tan, Jian, Eryilmaz, Atilla.  2019.  Counterintuitive Characteristics of Optimal Distributed LRU Caching Over Unreliable Channels. IEEE INFOCOM 2019 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications. :694–702.
Least-recently-used (LRU) caching and its variants have conventionally been used as a fundamental and critical method to ensure fast and efficient data access in computer and communication systems. Emerging data-intensive applications over unreliable channels, e.g., mobile edge computing and wireless content delivery networks, have imposed new challenges in optimizing LRU caching systems in environments prone to failures. Most existing studies focus on reliable channels, e.g., on wired Web servers and within data centers, which have already yielded good insights with successful algorithms on how to reduce cache miss ratios. Surprisingly, we show that these widely held insights do not necessarily hold true for unreliable channels. We consider a single-hop multi-cache distributed system with data items being dispatched by random hashing. The objective is to achieve efficient cache organization and data placement. The former allocates the total memory space to each of the involved caches. The latter decides data routing strategies and data replication schemes. Analytically we characterize the unreliable LRU caches by explicitly deriving their asymptotic miss probabilities. Based on these results, we optimize the system design. Remarkably, these results sometimes are counterintuitive, differing from the ones obtained for reliable caches. We discover an interesting phenomenon: asymmetric cache organization is optimal even for symmetric channels. Specifically, even when channel unreliability probabilities are equal, allocating the cache spaces unequally can achieve a better performance. We also propose an explicit unequal allocation policy that outperforms the equal allocation. In addition, we prove that splitting the total cache space into separate LRU caches can achieve a lower asymptotic miss probability than resource pooling that organizes the total space in a single LRU cache. These results provide new and even counterintuitive insights that motivate novel designs for caching systems over unreliable channels. They can potentially be exploited to further improve the system performance in real practice.