Spawn: A Distributed Computational Economy

Carl A. Waldspurger, Tad Hogg, Bernardo A. Huberman, Jeffery O. Kephart and W. Scott Stornetta

 AUTHOR = "Carl A. Waldspurger and Tad Hogg and Bernardo A. Huberman and Jeffery O. Kephart and W. Scott Stornetta",
 TITLE = "Spawn: A Distributed Computational Economy",
 JOURNAL = "IEEE Trans. on Software Engineering",
 VOLUME = "18",
 NUMBER = "2",
 PAGES = "103-117",
 MONTH = "February",
 YEAR = "1992"}


We have designed and implemented an open, market-based computational system called Spawn. The Spawn system utilizes idle computational resources in a distributed network of heterogeneous computer workstations. It supports both coarse-grain concurrent applications and the remote execution of many independent tasks. Using concurrent Monte-Carlo simulations as prototypical applications, we explore issues of fairness in resource distribution, currency as a form of priority, price equilibria, the dynamics of transients, and scaling to large systems. In addition to serving the practical goal of harnessing idle processor time in a computer network, Spawn has proven to be a valuable experimental workbench for studying computational markets and their dynamics.

Index Terms: Concurrent systems, distributed systems, dynamic load sharing, microeconomic algorithms, priority mechanisms, resource allocation, scheduling.