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The design of large scale distributed systems involves a large number of problems in discrete and continuous optimization. Many of these problems fall into the complexity class of NP-Complete, and beyond. Although simulation has long been a method of choice for evaluating systems performance of well defined systems, it is not practical to perform simulation inside a combinatorial optimization loop. Because of this complexity in the discrete part of the search of the design space, we are forced to use fast analytic approximations, coupled with simulated annealing, to perform the preliminary design search, and use simulation after a candidate set of well defined systems configurations has been selected for further investigation.
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