Learning to Cache and Caching to Learn: Regret Analysis of Caching Algorithms Academic Article uri icon


  • Crucial performance metrics of a caching algorithm include its ability to quickly and accurately learn a popularity distribution of requests. However, a majority of work on analytical performance analysis focuses on hit probability after an asymptotically large time has elapsed. We consider an online learning viewpoint, and characterize the "regret" in terms of the finite time difference between the hits achieved by a candidate caching algorithm with respect to a genie-aided scheme that places the most popular items in the cache. We first consider the Full Observation regime wherein all requests are seen by the cache. We show that the Least Frequently Used (LFU) algorithm is able to achieve order optimal regret, which is matched by an efficient counting algorithm design that we call LFU-Lite. We then consider the Partial Observation regime wherein only requests for items currently cached are seen by the cache, making it similar to an online learning problem related to the multi-armed bandit problem. We show how approaching this "caching bandit" using traditional approaches yields either high complexity or regret, but a simple algorithm design that exploits the structure of the distribution can ensure order optimal regret. We conclude by illustrating our insights using numerical simulations.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bura, A., Rengarajan, D., Kalathil, D., Shakkottai, S., & Chamberland, J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Bura, Archana||Rengarajan, Desik||Kalathil, Dileep||Shakkottai, Srinivas||Chamberland, Jean-Francois

publication date

  • February 2022