This paper considers the nonlinear fractional knapsack problem and demonstrates how its solution can be effectively applied to two resource allocation problems dealing with the World Wide Web. The novel solution involves a "team" of deterministic learning automata (LA). The first real-life problem relates to resource allocation in web monitoring so as to "optimize" information discovery when the polling capacity is constrained. The disadvantages of the currently reported solutions are explained in this paper. The second problem concerns allocating limited sampling resources in a "real-time" manner with the purpose of estimating multiple binomial proportions. This is the scenario encountered when the user has to evaluate multiple web sites by accessing a limited number of web pages, and the proportions of interest are the fraction of each web site that is successfully validated by an HTML validator. Using the general LA paradigm to tackle both of the real-life problems, the proposed scheme improves a current solution in an online manner through a series of informed guesses that move toward the optimal solution. At the heart of the scheme, a team of deterministic LA performs a controlled random walk on a discretized solution space. Comprehensive experimental results demonstrate that the discretization resolution determines the precision of the scheme, and that for a given precision, the current solution (to both problems) is consistently improved until a nearly optimal solution is found - even for switching environments. Thus, the scheme, while being novel to the entire field of LA, also efficiently handles a class of resource allocation problems previously not addressed in the literature.

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Keywords Game playing, Learning automata (LA), Nonlinear knapsack problem, Resource allocation, Stochastic optimization
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Journal IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Granmo, O.-C. (Ole-Christoffer), Oommen, J, Myrer, S.A. (Svein Arild), & Olsen, M.G. (Morten Goodwin). (2007). Learning automata-based solutions to the nonlinear fractional knapsack problem with applications to optimal resource allocation. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, 37(1), 166–175. doi:10.1109/TSMCB.2006.879012