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45th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (2004)
Rome, Italy
Oct. 17, 2004 to Oct. 19, 2004
ISSN: 0272-5428
ISBN: 0-7695-2228-9
pp: 444-453
Jon Kleinberg , Cornell University
Aleksandrs Slivkins , Cornell University
Tom Wexler , Cornell University
<p>Concurrent with recent theoretical interest in the problem of metric embedding, a growing body of research in the networking community has studied the distance matrix defined by node-to-node latencies in the Internet, resulting in a number of recent approaches that approximately embed this distance matrix into low-dimensional Euclidean space. There is a fundamental distinction, however, between the theoretical approaches to the embedding problem and this recent Internet-related work: in addition to computational limitations, Internet measurement algorithms operate under the constraint that it is only feasible to measure a linear (or near-linear) number of node pairs, and typically in a highly structured way. Indeed, the most common framework for Internet measurements of this type is a beacon-based approach: one chooses uniformly at random a constant number of nodes (?beacons?) in the network, each node measures its distance to all beacons, and one then has access to only these measurements for the remainder of the algorithm. Moreover, beacon-based algorithms are often designed not for embedding but for the more basic problem of triangulation, in which one uses the triangle inequality to infer the distances that have not been measured.</p> <p>Here we give algorithms with provable performance guarantees for beacon-based triangulation and embedding. We show that in addition to multiplicative error in the distances, performance guarantees for beacon-based algorithms typically must include a notion of slack — a certain fraction of all distances may be arbitrarily distorted. For metrics of bounded doubling dimension (which have been proposed as a reasonable abstraction of Internet latencies), we show that triangulation-based reconstruction with a constant number of beacons can achieve multiplicative error 1 + δ on a 1 - ε fraction of distances, for arbitrarily small constants δ and ε. For this same class of metrics, we give a beacon-based embedding algorithm that achieves constant distortion on a 1- ε fraction of distances; this provides some theoretical justification for the success of the recent Global Network Positioning algorithm of Ng and Zhang, and it forms an interesting contrast with lower bounds showing that it is not possible to embed all distances in a doubling metric with constant distortion. We also give results for other classes of metrics, as well as distributed algorithms that require only a sparse set of distances but do not place too much measurement load on any one node.</p>

A. Slivkins, T. Wexler and J. Kleinberg, "Triangulation and Embedding Using Small Sets of Beacons," 45th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science(FOCS), Rome, Italy, 2004, pp. 444-453.
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