Stable and Utility-Maximizing Scheduling for Stochastic Processing Networks

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Stochastic Processing Networks (SPNs) are models of service, processing, communication, or manufacturing systems. In such a network, service activities require parts and resources to produce new parts. Thus, parts flow through a network of buffers served by activities that consume parts and produce new ones. Typically, service activities compete for resources, which yields a scheduling problem. The goal of the scheduling is to maximize some measure of performance of the network, such as the net utility of parts being produced. As SPNs are more general than queuing networks, one may expect the scheduling that minimizes an average cost such as total waiting time to be complex.