Whittle index approach to size-aware scheduling for time-varying channels with multiple states

Samuli Aalto, Pasi Lassila*, Prajwal Osti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the optimal opportunistic scheduling problem for downlink data traffic in a wireless cell with time-varying channels. The scheduler itself operates at a very fast time scale of milliseconds, but the objective function is related to minimizing the holding costs at a much longer time scale, at the so-called flow level. The Whittle index approach is a powerful tool in this context, since it renders the flow-level optimization problem with heterogeneous users tractable. Until now, this approach has been applied to the opportunistic scheduling problem to generate non-anticipating index policies that may depend on the amount of attained service but do not utilize the exact size information. In this paper, we produce a size-aware (i.e., anticipating) index policy by applying the Whittle index approach in a novel way. By a numerical study based on simulations, we demonstrate that the resulting size-aware index policy systematically improves performance. As a side result, we show that the opportunistic scheduling problem is indexable when the file sizes follow the Pascal distribution, and we derive the corresponding Whittle index, which generalizes earlier results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195–225
Number of pages31
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Opportunistic scheduling
  • Size-based scheduling
  • Stochastic optimization
  • Whittle index

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    Towards Optimal Performance-Energy Trade-off in Server Farms

    Aalto, S., Gebrehiwot, M., Hyytiä, E., Lassila, P. & Osti, P.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

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