A nearly logarithmic lower bound on the randomized competitive ratio for the metrical task systems problem is presented. This implies a similar lower bound for the extensively studied K-server problem. The proof is based on Ramsey-type theorems for metric spaces, that state that every metric space contains a large subspace which is approximately a hierarchically well-separated tree (and in particular an ultrametric). These Ramsey-type theorems may be of independent interest. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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