Scheduling algorithms for procrastinators

Bender Michael A., R Clifford, Tsichlas Kostas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents scheduling algorithms for procrastinators, where the speed that a procrastinator executes a job increases as the due date approaches. We give optimal off-line scheduling policies for linearly increasing speed functions. We then explain the computational/numerical issues involved in implementing this policy. We next explore the online setting, showing that there exist adversaries that force any online scheduling policy to miss due dates. This impossibility result motivates the problem of minimizing the maximum interval stretch of any job; the interval stretch of a job is the job’s flow time divided by the job’s due date minus release time. We show that several common scheduling strategies, including the “hit-the-highest-nail” strategy beloved by procrastinators, have arbitrarily large maximum interval stretch. Then we give the “thrashing” scheduling policy and show that it is a Θ(1) approximation algorithm for the maximum interval stretch.
Translated title of the contributionJournal of Scheduling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95 - 104
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Scheduling
Volume11, Number 2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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