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685
A Threshold of ln n for Approximating Set Cover
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 1998
"... Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhar ..."
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Cited by 778 (5 self)
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Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhard. We prove that (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n is a threshold below which set cover cannot be approximated efficiently, unless NP has slightly superpolynomial time algorithms. This closes the gap (up to low order terms) between the ratio of approximation achievable by the greedy algorithm (which is (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n), and previous results of Lund and Yannakakis, that showed hardness of approximation within a ratio of (log 2 n)=2 ' 0:72 lnn. For max kcover we show an approximation threshold of (1 \Gamma 1=e) (up to low order terms), under the assumption that P != NP .
Optimal Aggregation Algorithms for Middleware
 IN PODS
, 2001
"... Assume that each object in a database has m grades, or scores, one for each of m attributes. For example, an object can have a color grade, that tells how red it is, and a shape grade, that tells how round it is. For each attribute, there is a sorted list, which lists each object and its grade under ..."
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Cited by 701 (4 self)
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Assume that each object in a database has m grades, or scores, one for each of m attributes. For example, an object can have a color grade, that tells how red it is, and a shape grade, that tells how round it is. For each attribute, there is a sorted list, which lists each object and its grade under that attribute, sorted by grade (highest grade first). There is some monotone aggregation function, or combining rule, such as min or average, that combines the individual grades to obtain an overall grade. To determine the top k objects (that have the best overall grades), the naive algorithm must access every object in the database, to find its grade under each attribute. Fagin has given an algorithm (“Fagin’s Algorithm”, or FA) that is much more efficient. For some monotone aggregation functions, FA is optimal with high probability in the worst case. We analyze an elegant and remarkably simple algorithm (“the threshold algorithm”, or TA) that is optimal in a much stronger sense than FA. We show that TA is essentially optimal, not just for some monotone aggregation functions, but for all of them, and not just in a highprobability worstcase sense, but over every database. Unlike FA, which requires large buffers (whose size may grow unboundedly as the database size grows), TA requires only a small, constantsize buffer. TA allows early stopping, which yields, in a precise sense, an approximate version of the top k answers. We distinguish
Algorithmic mechanism design
 Games and Economic Behavior
, 1999
"... We consider algorithmic problems in a distributed setting where the participants cannot be assumed to follow the algorithm but rather their own selfinterest. As such participants, termed agents, are capable of manipulating the algorithm, the algorithm designer should ensure in advance that the agen ..."
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Cited by 674 (21 self)
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We consider algorithmic problems in a distributed setting where the participants cannot be assumed to follow the algorithm but rather their own selfinterest. As such participants, termed agents, are capable of manipulating the algorithm, the algorithm designer should ensure in advance that the agents ’ interests are best served by behaving correctly. Following notions from the field of mechanism design, we suggest a framework for studying such algorithms. Our main technical contribution concerns the study of a representative task scheduling problem for which the standard mechanism design tools do not suffice. Journal of Economic Literature
Learning to Order Things
 Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
, 1998
"... There are many applications in which it is desirable to order rather than classify instances. Here we consider the problem of learning how to order, given feedback in the form of preference judgments, i.e., statements to the effect that one instance should be ranked ahead of another. We outline a ..."
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Cited by 409 (12 self)
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There are many applications in which it is desirable to order rather than classify instances. Here we consider the problem of learning how to order, given feedback in the form of preference judgments, i.e., statements to the effect that one instance should be ranked ahead of another. We outline a twostage approach in which one first learns by conventional means a preference function, of the form PREF(u; v), which indicates whether it is advisable to rank u before v. New instances are then ordered so as to maximize agreements with the learned preference function. We show that the problem of finding the ordering that agrees best with a preference function is NPcomplete, even under very restrictive assumptions. Nevertheless, we describe a simple greedy algorithm that is guaranteed to find a good approximation. We then discuss an online learning algorithm, based on the "Hedge" algorithm, for finding a good linear combination of ranking "experts." We use the ordering algorith...
Polynomial time approximation schemes for Euclidean TSP and other geometric problems
 In Proceedings of the 37th IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS’96
, 1996
"... Abstract. We present a polynomial time approximation scheme for Euclidean TSP in fixed dimensions. For every fixed c � 1 and given any n nodes in � 2, a randomized version of the scheme finds a (1 � 1/c)approximation to the optimum traveling salesman tour in O(n(log n) O(c) ) time. When the nodes a ..."
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Cited by 399 (3 self)
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Abstract. We present a polynomial time approximation scheme for Euclidean TSP in fixed dimensions. For every fixed c � 1 and given any n nodes in � 2, a randomized version of the scheme finds a (1 � 1/c)approximation to the optimum traveling salesman tour in O(n(log n) O(c) ) time. When the nodes are in � d, the running time increases to O(n(log n) (O(�dc))d�1). For every fixed c, d the running time is n � poly(log n), that is nearly linear in n. The algorithm can be derandomized, but this increases the running time by a factor O(n d). The previous best approximation algorithm for the problem (due to Christofides) achieves a 3/2approximation in polynomial time. We also give similar approximation schemes for some other NPhard Euclidean problems: Minimum Steiner Tree, kTSP, and kMST. (The running times of the algorithm for kTSP and kMST involve an additional multiplicative factor k.) The previous best approximation algorithms for all these problems achieved a constantfactor approximation. We also give efficient approximation schemes for Euclidean MinCost Matching, a problem that can be solved exactly in polynomial time. All our algorithms also work, with almost no modification, when distance is measured using any geometric norm (such as �p for p � 1 or other Minkowski norms). They also have simple parallel (i.e., NC) implementations.
Structured Semidefinite Programs and Semialgebraic Geometry Methods in Robustness and Optimization
, 2000
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Coalition Structure Generation with Worst Case Guarantees
, 1999
"... Coalition formation is a key topic in multiagent systems. One may prefer a coalition structure that maximizes the sum of the values of the coalitions, but often the number of coalition structures is too large to allow exhaustive search for the optimal one. Furthermore, finding the optimal coalition ..."
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Cited by 266 (10 self)
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Coalition formation is a key topic in multiagent systems. One may prefer a coalition structure that maximizes the sum of the values of the coalitions, but often the number of coalition structures is too large to allow exhaustive search for the optimal one. Furthermore, finding the optimal coalition structure is NPcomplete. But then, can the coalition structure found via a partial search be guaranteed to be within a bound from optimum? We show that none of the previous coalition structure generation algorithms can establish any bound because they search fewer nodes than a threshold that we show necessary for establishing a bound. We present an algorithm that establishes a tight bound within this minimal amount of search, and show that any other algorithm would have to search strictly more. The fraction of nodes needed to be searched approaches zero as the number of agents grows. If additional time remains, our anytime algorithm searches further, and establishes a progressively lower tight bound. Surprisingly, just searching one more node drops the bound in half. As desired, our algorithm lowers the bound rapidly early on, and exhibits diminishing returns to computation. It also significantly outperforms its obvious contenders. Finally, we show how to distribute the desired
Greedy strikes back: Improved facility location algorithms
 Journal of Algorithms
, 1999
"... A fundamental facility location problem is to choose the location of facilities, such as industrial plants and warehouses, to minimize the cost of satisfying the demand for some commodity. There are associated costs for locating the facilities, as well as transportation costs for distributing the co ..."
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Cited by 221 (11 self)
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A fundamental facility location problem is to choose the location of facilities, such as industrial plants and warehouses, to minimize the cost of satisfying the demand for some commodity. There are associated costs for locating the facilities, as well as transportation costs for distributing the commodities. We assume that the transportation costs form a metric. This problem is commonly referred to as the uncapacitated facility location (UFL) problem. Applications to bank account location and clustering, as well as many related pieces of work, are discussed by Cornuejols, Nemhauser and Wolsey [2]. Recently, the first constant factor approximation algorithm for this problem was obtained by Shmoys, Tardos and Aardal [16]. We show that a simple greedy heuristic combined with the algorithm by Shmoys, Tardos and Aardal, can be used to obtain an approximation guarantee of 2.408. We discuss a few variants of the problem, demonstrating better approximation factors for restricted versions of the problem. We also show that the problem is Max SNPhard. However, the inapproximability constants derived from the Max SNP hardness are very close to one. By relating this problem to Set Cover, we prove a lower bound of 1.463 on the best possible approximation ratio assuming NP / ∈ DT IME[n O(log log n)]. 1
The Budgeted Maximum Coverage Problem
, 1997
"... The budgeted maximum coverage problem is: given a collection S of sets with associated costs defined over a domain of weighted elements, and a budget L, find a subset of S 0 ` S such that the total cost of sets in S 0 does not exceed L, and the total weight of elements covered by S 0 is maxim ..."
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Cited by 189 (7 self)
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The budgeted maximum coverage problem is: given a collection S of sets with associated costs defined over a domain of weighted elements, and a budget L, find a subset of S 0 ` S such that the total cost of sets in S 0 does not exceed L, and the total weight of elements covered by S 0 is maximized. This problem is NPhard. For the special case of this problem, where each set has unit cost, a (1 \Gamma 1 e )approximation is known. Yet, no approximation results are known for the general cost version. The contribution of this paper is a (1 \Gamma 1 e )approximation algorithm for the budgeted maximum coverage problem. We also argue that this approximation factor is the best possible, unless NP ` DT IME(n log log n ). 1 Introduction The budgeted maximum coverage problem is defined as follows. A collection of sets S = fS 1 ; S 2 ; : : : ; Sm g with associated costs fc i g m i=1 is defined over a domain of elements X = fx 1 ; x 2 ; : : : ; x n g with associated weights fw i ...
Winner determination in combinatorial auction generalizations
, 2002
"... Combinatorial markets where bids can be submitted on bundles of items can be economically desirable coordination mechanisms in multiagent systems where the items exhibit complementarity and substitutability. There has been a surge of recent research on winner determination in combinatorial auctions. ..."
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Cited by 180 (24 self)
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Combinatorial markets where bids can be submitted on bundles of items can be economically desirable coordination mechanisms in multiagent systems where the items exhibit complementarity and substitutability. There has been a surge of recent research on winner determination in combinatorial auctions. In this paper we study a wider range of combinatorial market designs: auctions, reverse auctions, and exchanges, with one or multiple units of each item, with and without free disposal. We first theoretically characterize the complexity. The most interesting results are that reverse auctions with free disposal can be approximated, and in all of the cases without free disposal, even finding a feasible solution is ÆÈcomplete. We then ran experiments on known benchmarks as well as ones which we introduced, to study the complexity of the market variants in practice. Cases with free disposal tended to be easier than ones without. On many distributions, reverse auctions with free disposal were easier than auctions with free disposal— as the approximability would suggest—but interestingly, on one of the most realistic distributions they were harder. Singleunit exchanges were easy, but multiunit exchanges were extremely hard. 1