Bucketing Bandwidth

Copyright 1997 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.


 

BucketOnce there was an Executive of a local cesspool-cleaning outfit called Bucketeers of Boise who employed an Artist to stand at the top of the hole and receive each bucket full of... well, each bucket full of what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

The Executive stood in the bottom of the hole and was theoretically able to scoop at the rate of six buckets per minute. That was his 'bucketing bandwidth,' so to speak. The Artist emptied each bucket into the truck and handed the empty bucket back to the Executive. The Artist was able to empty each bucket at the rate of only three buckets per minute, an ineluctable consequence of the fact that he took time to make sculptures out of... well, sculptures out of what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

By and by, the Executive took notice of the poor productivity of the enterprise, which was far below his own bucketing bandwidth and made mention of it to the Artist, who protested that the company needed more than one bucket. "That way," said the Artist, "there can be 'buffered bucketing'." He thus applied a term-of-art which connotes full buckets being emptied while empty ones are being filled with... well, filled with what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

buckets"Makes sense," said the Executive, and he set about immediately to purchase dozens of buckets, which were placed in a row at the top of the hole. The Executive commenced scooping at six buckets per minute and grinned. The Artist commenced sculpting at three buckets per minute and grinned. But not for long. There came a time when all the buckets were full of... well, full of what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

Climbing out of the hole and seeing that row of full buckets, the Executive took notice of the Artist, who was sculpting and grinning. He stopped grinning himself and fired the Artist.

Along came a Sycophant, who claimed to have a bucketing bandwidth of twelve buckets per minute and never grinned. "Just what the enterprise needs," thought the Executive, and he hired the Sycophant. Work resumed at once. Productivity improved, of course, but the Executive did not grin, for he saw that now all the buckets were empty of... well, empty of what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

Scooping at full speed, the Executive was not able to keep up with the Sycophant, who stood at the top of the hole solemnly waiting to receive each bucket of... well, to receive each bucket of what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning.

Bucket"Darn that Artist!" exclaimed the Executive. "All them buckets was a waste of capital." He immediately placed an ad in the Idaho Statesman for slightly used buckets and sold all of them except the one with which the enterprise started.

The Executive stood in the bottom of the hole and tried to scoop at the rate of six buckets per minute but couldn't. The Sycophant tried to empty the bucket into the truck at the rate of twelve buckets per minute but couldn't.

The Executive observed that the bucketing bandwidth of the enterprise with the Sycophant was hardly better than the bucketing bandwidth of the enterprise with the Artist -- both measuring less than the bucketing bandwidth of the Executive.

The Sycophant politely suggested that the Executive should improve his own bucketing bandwidth. The Executive shook his head and fired the Sycophant.

"I am an Executive," he proclaimed. "There ain't nobody handin' me no [what is most commonly found in cesspools that need cleaning]!"
 

There are four system configurations set forth above: 
    A. Executive and Artist Without Buffer, 
    B. Executive and Artist With Buffer, 
    C. Executive and Sycophant With Buffer, and 
    D. Executive and Sycophant Without Buffer. 
What is the bucketing bandwidth of each?

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