The idea behind the recently introduced “age-of-information” performance measure of a network message processing system is that it indicates our knowledge regarding the “freshness” of the most recent piece of information that can be used as a criterion for real-time control. In this foundational paper, we examine two such measures, one that has been extensively studied in the recent literature and a new one that could be more relevant from the point of view of the processor. Considering these measures as stochastic processes in a stationary environment (defined by the arrival processes, message processing times and admission controls in bufferless systems), we characterize their distributions using the Palm inversion formula. Under renewal assumptions, we derive explicit solutions for their Laplace transforms and show some interesting decomposition properties. Previous work has mostly focused on computation of expectations in very particular cases. We argue that using bufferless or very small buffer systems is best and support this by simulation. We also pose some open problems including assessment of enqueueing policies that may be better in cases where one wishes to minimize more general functionals of the age-of-information measures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistics and Probability
- Computer Science Applications
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Computational Theory and Mathematics