Learning to Schedule in Multiclass Many-Server Queues with Abandonment

86 Pages Posted: 9 May 2022 Last revised: 13 May 2024

See all articles by Yueyang Zhong

Yueyang Zhong

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

John R. Birge

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Amy Ward

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Date Written: April 21, 2022

Abstract

The multiclass many-server queue with abandonment (specifically, the multiclass GI/GI/N+GI queue) is a canonical model for service systems. One key operational question is how to schedule; that is, how to choose the customer that a newly available server will serve. The scheduling question is of fundamental importance because scheduling determines which customer classes have longer wait times (relative to their patience when waiting for service), and, therefore, more abandonments. However, even though there is much work on scheduling in queueing systems, there is comparatively less work on scheduling in queueing systems when the model primitives (that is, distributional and parameter information regarding the inter-arrival, service, and patience times) are unknown and may be learned.

Our objective is to determine a scheduling policy that minimizes regret, which is the difference in expected abandonment cost between a proposed policy, that does not have knowledge of model primitives, and a benchmark policy, that has full knowledge of model primitives. The difficulty is that the state space is very complex, because in order for the system to be Markovian, we must track: (i) the time elapsed since the last arrival for each class; (ii) the amount of time each customer in service has been in service; and (iii) the amount of time each customer in queue has spent waiting. We propose a policy that first learns and then schedules following a Learn-then-Schedule (LTS) algorithm that we develop. We analyze the performance of the LTS policy against the benchmark aμ-rule (that prioritizes classes for service in accordance with their cost of abandonment times service rate). The algorithm is composed of a learning phase, during which empirical estimates of the service and abandonment rates, and their associated abandonment costs, are formed, and an exploitation phase, during which an empirical aμ-rule based on those estimates is applied. We show that the LTS policy has regret of order logT (where T is the system run-time), which is the smallest order achievable.

Keywords: Multiclass GI/GI/N+GI queue; scheduling; unknown parameters; regret

Suggested Citation

Zhong, Yueyang and Birge, John R. and Ward, Amy, Learning to Schedule in Multiclass Many-Server Queues with Abandonment (April 21, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4090021 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4090021

Yueyang Zhong (Contact Author)

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

John R. Birge

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Amy Ward

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/w/amy-ward

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