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Publication# Applications of Strong Convex Relaxations to Allocation Problems

Résumé

Approximation algorithms are a commonly used tool for designing efficient algorithmic solutions for intractable problems, at the expense of the quality of the output solution. A prominent technique for designing such algorithms is the use of Linear Programming (LP) relaxations. An optimal solution to such a relaxation provides a bound on the objective value of the optimal integral solution, to which we compare the integral solution we return. In this context, when studying a specific problem, two natural questions often arise: What is a strong LP relaxation for this problem, and how can we exploit it? Over the course of the past few decades, a significant amount of effort has been expended by the research community in order to answer these questions for a variety of interesting intractable problems. Although there exist multiple problems for which we have designed LP relaxations that achieve best-possible guarantees, there still exist numerous problems for which we either have no strong LP relaxations, or do not know how to use them. The main focus of this thesis is extending our understanding of such strong relaxations. We focus on designing good approximation algorithms for certain allocation problems, by employing a class of strong LP relaxations, called configuration-LPs. For many such allocation problems, the best-known results are derived by using simple and natural LP relaxations, whereas configuration-LPs have been used successfully on several occasions in order to break pre-existing barriers set by weaker relaxations. However, our understanding of configuration-LPs is far from complete for many problems. Therefore, understanding and using these relaxations to the farthest extent possible is a quite intriguing question. Answering this question could result in improved approximation algorithms for a wide variety of allocation problems. The first problem we address in this thesis is the restricted max-min fair allocation problem. Prior to our work, the best known result provided an $\Omega(1)$-approximation that ran in polynomial time. Also, it was known how to estimate the value of an optimal solution to the problem within a factor of $1/(4+c)$, for any $c>0$, by solving the corresponding configuration-LP. Our first contribution in this thesis is the design of a $1/13$-approximation algorithm for the problem, using the configuration-LP. Specifically, although our algorithm is fully combinatorial, it consists of a local-search procedure that is guaranteed to succeed only when the configuration-LP is feasible. In order to establish the correctness and running time of the algorithm, it is crucial to use the configuration-LP in our analysis. The second problem we study is the scheduling of jobs on unrelated machines in order to minimize the sum of weighted completion times. For this problem, the best known approximation algorithm achieves a ratio of $3/2-r$, for some small $r>0$. Our second contribution in this thesis is the improvement of this ratio to $(1+\sqrt{2})/2+c$, for any $c>0$, for the special case of the problem where the jobs have uniform Smith ratios. To achieve this ratio, we design a randomized rounding algorithm that rounds solutions to the corresponding configuration-LP. Through a careful examination of the distribution this randomized algorithm outputs, we identify the one that maximizes the approximation ratio, and we then upper bound the ratio this worst-case distribution exhibits by $(1+\sqrt{2})/2+c$.

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Concepts associés (27)

Algorithme d'approximation

En informatique théorique, un algorithme d'approximation est une méthode permettant de calculer une solution approchée à un problème algorithmique d'optimisation. Plus précisément, c'est une heuristiq

Combinatoire

En mathématiques, la combinatoire, appelée aussi analyse combinatoire, étudie les configurations de collections finies d'objets ou les combinaisons d'ensembles finis, et les dénombrements.
Géné

Approximation

Une approximation est une représentation imprécise ayant toutefois un lien étroit avec la quantité ou l’objet qu’elle reflète : approximation d’un nombre (de π par 3,14, de la vitesse instantanée d’un

Publications associées (121)

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The common point between the different chapters of the present work is graph theory. We investigate some well known graph theory problems, and some which arise from more specific applications. In the first chapter, we deal with the maximum stable set problem, and provide some new graph classes, where it can be solved in polynomial time. Those classes are hereditary, i.e. characterized by a list of forbidden induced subgraphs. The algorithms proposed are purely combinatorial. The second chapter is devoted to the study of a problem linked to security purposes in mobile telecommunication networks. The particularity is that there is no central authority guaranteeing security, but it is actually managed by the users themselves. The network is modelled by an oriented graph, whose vertices represent the users, and whose arcs represent public key certificates. The problem is to associate to each vertex a subgraph with some requirements on the size of the subgraphs, the number of times a vertex is taken in a subgraph and the connectivity between any two users as they put their subgraphs together. Constructive heuristics are proposed, bounds on the optimal solution and a tabu search are described and tested. The third chapter is on the problem of reconstructing an image, given its projections in terms of the number of occurrences of each color in each row and each column. The case of two colors is known to be polynomially solvable, it is NP-complete with four or more colors, and the complexity status of the problem with three colors is open. An intermediate case between two and three colors is shown to be solvable in polynomial time. The last two chapters are about graph (vertex-)coloring. In the fourth, we prove a result which brings a large collection of NP-hard subcases, characterized by forbidden induced subgraphs. In the fifth chapter, we approach the problem with the use of linear programming. Links between different formulations are pointed out, and some families of facets are characterized. In the last section, we study a branch and bound algorithm, whose lower bounds are given by the optimal value of the linear relaxation of one of the exposed formulations. A preprocessing procedure is proposed and tested.

Many of the currently best-known approximation algorithms for NP-hard optimization problems are based on Linear Programming (LP) and Semi-definite Programming (SDP) relaxations. Given its power, this class of algorithms seems to contain the most favourable candidates for outperforming the current state-of-the-art approximation guarantees for NP-hard problems, for which there still exists a gap between the inapproximability results and the approximation guarantees that we know how to achieve in polynomial time. In this thesis, we address both the power and the limitations of these relaxations, as well as the connection between the shortcomings of these relaxations and the inapproximability of the underlying problem. In the first part, we study the limitations of LP relaxations of well-known graph problems such as the Vertex Cover problem and the Independent Set problem. We prove that any small LP relaxation for the aforementioned problems, cannot have an integrality gap strictly better than $2$ and $\omega(1)$, respectively. Furthermore, our lower bound for the Independent Set problem also holds for any SDP relaxation. Prior to our work, it was only known that such LP relaxations cannot have an integrality gap better than $1.5$ for the Vertex Cover Problem, and better than $2$ for the Independent Set problem. In the second part, we study the so-called knapsack cover inequalities that are used in the current best relaxations for numerous combinatorial optimization problems of covering type. In spite of their widespread use, these inequalities yield LP relaxations of exponential size, over which it is not known how to optimize exactly in polynomial time. We address this issue and obtain LP relaxations of quasi-polynomial size that are at least as strong as that given by the knapsack cover inequalities. In the last part, we show a close connection between structural hardness for k-partite graphs and tight inapproximability results for scheduling problems with precedence constraints. This connection is inspired by a family of integrality gap instances of a certain LP relaxation. Assuming the hardness of an optimization problem on k-partite graphs, we obtain a hardness of $2-\varepsilon$ for the problem of minimizing the makespan for scheduling with preemption on identical parallel machines, and a super constant inapproximability for the problem of scheduling on related parallel machines. Prior to this result, it was only known that the first problem does not admit a PTAS, and the second problem is NP-hard to approximate within a factor strictly better than 2, assuming the Unique Games Conjecture.

Hyung Chan An, Ola Nils Anders Svensson

Linear programming (LP) has played a key role in the study of algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems. In the field of approximation algorithms, this is well illustrated by the uncapacitated facility location problem. A variety of algorithmic methodologies, such as LP-rounding and the primal-dual method, have been applied to and evolved from algorithms for this problem. Unfortunately, this collection of powerful algorithmic techniques had not yet been applicable to the more general capacitated facility location problem. In fact, all of the known algorithms with good performance guarantees were based on a single technique, local search, and no LP relaxation was known to efficiently approximate the problem. In this paper, we present an LP relaxation with a constant integrality gap for the capacitated facility location. We demonstrate that the fundamental theories of multicommodity flows and matchings provide key insights that lead to the strong relaxation. Our algorithmic proof of integrality gap is obtained by finally accessing the rich toolbox of LP-based methodologies: we present a constant factor approximation algorithm based on LP-rounding.