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Publication# New Graph Algorithms via Polyhedral Techniques

Résumé

In this thesis we give new algorithms for two fundamental graph problems. We develop novel ways of using linear programming formulations, even exponential-sized ones, to extract structure from problem instances and to guide algorithms in making progress. Somewhat surprisingly, similar polyhedral techniques can be harnessed in the two seemingly disparate settings.

In the first part of the thesis we address a benchmark problem in combinatorial optimization: the asymmetric traveling salesman problem (ATSP). It consists in finding the shortest tour that visits all vertices of a given directed graph with weights on edges. Due to its NP-hardness, the theoretical study of algorithms for ATSP has focused on approximation algorithms: ones that are provably both efficient and give solutions competitive with the optimum. Specifically, a rho-approximation algorithm for ATSP is one that runs in polynomial time and always outputs a tour that is at most rho times longer than the shortest tour. Finding such an approximation algorithm with rho bounded (i.e., a constant factor) had been a long-standing open problem.

In this thesis, we give such an algorithm. Our approximation guarantee is analyzed with respect to the standard linear programming relaxation, and thus our result also confirms the conjectured constant integrality gap of that relaxation. Our techniques build upon the constant-factor approximation algorithm for the special case of node-weighted metrics due to Svensson. In particular, we give a generic reduction to structured instances that resemble but are more general than those arising from node-weighted metrics. This reduction takes advantage of a laminar family of vertex sets that arises from the linear programming relaxation.

In the second part of the thesis we address the perfect matching problem. The first polynomial-time algorithm for it, given by Edmonds in 1965, is historically associated with the introduction of the class P and our notion that `polynomial-time'' means `

efficient''. That algorithm is sequential and deterministic. We have also known since the 1980s that the matching problem has efficient parallel algorithms if the use of randomness is allowed. Formally, it is in the class RNC, i.e., it has randomized algorithms that use polynomially many processors and run in polylogarithmic time. However, we do not know if randomness is necessary - that is, whether the matching problem is in the class NC.

In this thesis we show that the matching problem is in quasi-NC. That is, we give a deterministic parallel algorithm that runs in O(log^3 n) time on n^{O(log^2 n)} processors. The result is obtained by a derandomization of the Isolation Lemma for perfect matchings, which was introduced in the classic paper by Mulmuley, Vazirani and Vazirani to obtain an RNC algorithm. Our proof extends the framework of Fenner, Gurjar and Thierauf, who proved the analogous result in the special case of bipartite graphs. Compared to that setting, several new ingredients are needed due to the significantly more complex structure of perfect matchings in general graphs. In particular, our proof heavily relies on the laminar structure of the faces of the perfect matching polytope.

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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 $(1+\sqrt{2})/2+c$.

Graph theory experienced a remarkable increase of interest among the scientific community during the last decades. The vertex coloring problem (Min Coloring) deserves a particular attention rince it has been able to capture a wide variety of applications. For mathematicians, it is interesting for an additional reason: it is extremely hard to solve it in an efficient way. In this thesis, we introduce several problems generalizing the usual vertex coloring problem, and hence, extending its application domain. We say that a graph is (p, k)-colorable if its vertex set can be partitioned into p cliques and k stable sets. Then, for a given p (respectively k), one may ask the following questions: how to choose p cliques (respectively k stable sets) to be removed from the graph such that the number of stable sets (respectively cliques) partitioning the remaining vertices is minimized? These are called (p, k)-coloring problems. We also introduce Min Split-coloring which is, given a graph G, the problem of minimizing k such that G is (k, k)-colorable. Along the saine line, given a graph G, the objective of the problem Min Cocoloring is to minimize p + k such that G is (p, k)-colorable. All these problems, called together generalized coloring problems, are obviously at least as difficult as Min Coloring. The purpose of this dissertation is to study generalized coloring problems in nome restricted classes of graphs in order to bring a new insight on the relative difficulties of these problems. To this end, we detect in a more precise way the limits between NP-hard and polynomially solvable problems. Chapter 1 introduces generalized coloring problems by emphasizing nome preliminary results which will guide the questions to handle in the following chapters. Chapter 2 exposes the first clans of graphs, namely cacti, where Min Split-coloring is shown to be polynomially solvable. We also observe that generalized coloring problems can be polynomially solved in triangulated graphs. The main result of Chapter 3 is a new characterization of cographs: it is equivalent to say that G is a cograph, and to state that, for every subgraph G' ⊆ G, G' is (p, k)-colorable if and only if G' [V \ K] is (p – 1, k)-colorable, where K induces a maximum clique of G'. This result implies simple combinatorial algorithme to solve all generalized coloring problems; the one for Min Cocoloring improves the best time complexity known so far. In Chapter 4, we handle the recognition of polar graphs which can be seen as a particular (p, k)-coloring, where p cliques are independent (i.e., not linked at all) and k stable sets form a complete k-partite graph. It is known that the recognition of polar graphs is NP-complete. Here, we determine the first clans of graphs, namely cographs, where the polar graphs can be recognized in polynomial time, more precisely in time O(n log n). We also give a characterization by forbidden subgraphs. In the came manner, we characterize monopolar cographs, i.e., cographs admitting a polar partition with at most one clique or at most one stable set. Chapter 5 is devoted to generalized coloring problems in line graphs. Here, we detect the first classes of graphs, namely line graphs of trees, line graphs of bipartite graphs and line graphs of line-perfect graphs, where generalized coloring problems diverge in terms of NP-hardness. In Chapter 6 we study the approximability of generalized coloring problems in line graphs, in comparability graphs and in general graphs. We derive approximation algorithms with a performance guarantee using both the standard approximation ratio and the differential approximation ratio. We show that both Min Split-coloring and Min Cocoloring are at least as hard as Min Coloring to approximate from the standard approximation ratio point of view, whereas, they admit a polynomial time differential approximation scheme and Min Coloring only a constant differential approximation ratio. We also show that Min Cocoloring reduces to Min Split-coloring in all classes of graphs closed under addition of disjoint cliques and under join of a complete k-partite graph. In Chapter 7, we handle two different applications of Min Split-coloring in permutation graphs. They give birth to a new problem, called Min Threshold-coloring, that we study in the came spirit as the other generalized coloring problems. In the last chapter, we present several open questions arising from this thesis.

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.