Allocating Capacity in Parallel Queues to Improve Their Resilience to Deliberate Attack
Carlyle, W. Matthew
Henderson, Shane G.
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We develop models that lend insight into how to design systems that enjoy economies of scale in their operating costs, when those systems will subsequently face disruptions from accidents, acts of nature, or an intentional attack from a well-informed attacker. The systems are modeled as parallel M/M/1 queues, and the key question is how to allocate service capacity among the queues to make the system resilient to worst-case disruptions. We formulate this problem as a three-level sequential game of perfect information between a defender and a hypothetical attacker. The optimal allocation of service capacity to queues depends on the type of attack one is facing. We distinguish between deterministic incremental attacks, where some, but not all, of the capacity of each attacked queue is knocked out, and zero-one random-outcome (ZORO) attacks, where the outcome is random and either all capacity at an attacked queue is knocked out or none is. There are differences in the way one should design systems in the face of incremental or ZORO attacks. For incremental attacks it is best to concentrate capacity. For ZORO attacks the optimal allocation is more complex, typically, but not always, involving spreading the service capacity out somewhat among the servers.
Naval Research Logistics, 58(8), pp. 731-742.
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