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Section: Scientific Foundations

Scaling of Markov Processes

The growing complexity of communication networks makes it more difficult to apply classical mathematical methods. For a one/two-dimensional Markov process describing the evolution of some network, it is sometimes possible to write down the equilibrium equations and to solve them. The key idea to overcome these difficulties is to consider the system in limit regimes. This list of possible renormalization procedures is, of course, not exhaustive. The advantages of these methods lie in their flexibility to various situations and to the interesting theoretical problems they raised.

A fluid limit scaling is a particularly important means to scale a Markov process. It is related to the first order behavior of the process and, roughly speaking, amounts to a functional law of large numbers for the system considered.

A fluid limit keeps the main characteristics of the initial stochastic process while some second order stochastic fluctuations disappear. In “good” cases, a fluid limit is a deterministic function, obtained as the solution of some ordinary differential equation. As can be expected, the general situation is somewhat more complicated. These ideas of rescaling stochastic processes have emerged recently in the analysis of stochastic networks, to study their ergodicity properties in particular.


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