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Automating Resource Management for Distributed Business Processes


Ginis, Roman (2002) Automating Resource Management for Distributed Business Processes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9GXT-BD03.


A distributed business process is a set of related activities performed by independent resources offering services for lease. For instance, constructing an office building involves hundreds of activities such as excavating, plumbing and carpentry performed by machines and subcontractors, whose activities are related in time, space, cost and other dimensions. In the last decade Internet-based middleware has linked consumers with resources and services enabling the consumers to more efficiently locate, select and reserve the resources for use in business processes. This recent capability creates an opportunity for a new automation of resource management that can assign the optimal resources to the activities of a business process to maximize its utility to the consumer and yield substantial gains in operational efficiency. This thesis explores two basic problems towards automating the management of distributed business processes: 1. How to choose the best resources for the activities of a process (the Activity Resource Assignment - ARA - optimization problem); and 2. How to reserve the resources chosen for a process as an atomic operation when time has value, i.e., commit all resources or no resources (the Distributed Service Commit problem - DSC). I believe these will become the typical optimization and agreement problems between consumers and producers in a networked service economy. I propose a solution to the ARA optimization problem by modeling it as a special type of Integer Programming and I give a method for solving it efficiently for a large class of practical cases. Given a problem instance the method extracts the structure of the problem and using a new concept of variable independence recursively simplifies it while retaining at least one optimal solution. The reduction operation is guided by a novel procedure that makes use of the recent advances in tree-decomposition of graphs from the graph complexity theory. The solution to the DSC problem is an algorithm based on financial instruments and the two-phase commit protocol adapted for services. The method achieves an economically sensible atomic reservation agreement between multiple distributed resources and consumers in a free market environment. I expect the automation of resource management addressed in my thesis and elsewhere will pave the way for more efficient business operations in the networked economy.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:compositional business processes; distributed resource management; micro-option
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chandy, K. Mani (advisor)
  • Martin, Alain J. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Chandy, K. Mani (chair)
  • Hickey, Jason J.
  • Arvo, James R.
  • Schulman, Leonard J.
  • Pierce, Niles A.
Defense Date:25 October 2001
Non-Caltech Author Email:ginis (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11012005-093745
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4357
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Nov 2005
Last Modified:18 Aug 2022 23:23

Thesis Files

PDF (Ginis_r_2002.pdf) - Final Version
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