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The scheduling and organization of periodic associative computation: Efficient networks

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  • Timothy Van Zandt

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1021, USA)

Abstract

This paper characterizes the efficient decentralized networks for calculating the associative aggregate of cohorts of data of a fixed size that arrive periodically. Radner (1993) proposed this problem of periodic parallel associative computation as a model of the ongoing information processing and communication by the administrative staff of a large organization. For a simpler model in which the organization processes a single cohort of data - which is equivalent to the periodic model when the agents are paid only when busy - he found that the efficient networks are hierarchical but quite irregular, even though the computation problem and technology are each symmetric. In the periodic model in which managers are paid even when idle, it becomes important to minimize idle time when scheduling managers to processing tasks. Such scheduling appears more difficult when each problem is processed by an irregular hierarchy, which suggest that hierarchies might be more regular in the periodic model. However, we show that in a class of efficient networks for periodic computation that spans the efficiency frontier, the processing of each cohort is similar to the efficient processing of a single cohort, and the overall organizational structure is not even hierarchical.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Economic Design.

Volume (Year): 3 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 93-127

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Handle: RePEc:spr:reecde:v:3:y:1998:i:2:p:93-127

Note: Received: 15 October 1994 / Accepted: 6 March 1997
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Cited by:
  1. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2009. "Information technology: Efficient restructuring and the productivity puzzle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 916-929, December.
  2. Grüner, Hans Peter & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2004. "Speed and Quality of Collective Decision-Making, I: Imperfect Information Processing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Van Zandt, Timothy, 2003. "Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation with Quadratic Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Timothy Van Zandt, 1994. "Hierarchical Computation of the Resource Allocation Problem," Macroeconomics 9412001, EconWPA.
  5. Hans Peter Grüner & Elisabeth Schulte, 2004. "Speed and Quality of Collective Decision Making: Incentives for," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000417, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Eyal Winter, 2001. "Scapegoats and Optimal Allocation of Responsibility," Discussion Paper Series dp266, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  7. Grüner, Hans Peter & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2010. "Speed and quality of collective decision making: Incentives for information provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 734-747, December.
  8. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2007. "Protocol Design and (De-)Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 6357, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Meagher, Kieron & Orbay, Hakan & Van Zandt, Timothy, 2001. "Hierarchy Size and Environmental Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 2839, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Orbay, Hakan, 2002. "Information Processing Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 370-407, August.

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