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Coupon Replication Systems

Laurent Massoulie and Milan Vojnovic


Motivated by the study of peer-to-peer file swarming systems à la BitTorrent, we introduce a probabilistic model of coupon replication systems. These systems consist of users aiming to complete a collection of distinct coupons. Users enter the system with an initial coupon provided by a bootstrap server, acquire other coupons from other users, and leave once they complete their coupon collection. For open systems, with exogenous user arrivals, we derive stability condition for a layered scenario, where encounters are between users holding the same number of coupons. We also consider a system where encounters are between users chosen uniformly at random from the whole population. We show that sojourn time in both systems is asymptotically optimal as the number of coupon types becomes large. We also consider closed systems with no exogenous user arrivals. In a special scenario where users have only one missing coupon, we evaluate the size of the population ultimately remaining in the system, as the initial number of users Ngoes to infinity. We show that this size decreases geometrically with the number of coupons K. In particular, when the ratio K/log(N) is above a critical threshold, we prove that this number of leftovers is of order log(log(N)). These results suggest that, under the assumption that the bootstrap server is not a bottleneck, the performance does not depend critically on either altruistic user behavior or on load-balancing strategies such as rarest first.


Publication typeArticle
Published inIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
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