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Questions tagged [approximation-algorithms]

Questions about approximation algorithms.

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49 votes
8 answers
9k views

The importance of Integrality Gap

I always had trouble in understanding the importance of the Integrality Gap (IG) and bounds on it. IG is the ratio of (the quality of) an optimal integer answer to (the quality of) an optimal real ...
Kaveh's user avatar
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49 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there a sensible notion of an approximation algorithm for an undecidable problem?

Certain problems are known to be undecidable, but it is nevertheless possible to make some progress on solving them. For example, the halting problem is undecidable, but practical progress can be ...
Timothy Chow's user avatar
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46 votes
4 answers
14k views

Approximation algorithms for Metric TSP

It is known that metric TSP can be approximated within $1.5$ and cannot be approximated better than $123\over 122$ in polynomial time. Is anything known about finding approximation solutions in ...
Alex Golovnev's user avatar
39 votes
9 answers
4k views

Optimal greedy algorithms for NP-hard problems

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. One of the first algorithmic paradigms taught in introductory algorithms course is the greedy approach. Greedy approach results in simple and intuitive ...
Shiva Kintali's user avatar
39 votes
3 answers
5k views

Max-cut with negative weight edges

Let $G = (V, E, w)$ be a graph with weight function $w:E\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$. The max-cut problem is to find: $$\arg\max_{S \subset V} \sum_{(u,v) \in E : u \in S, v \not \in S}w(u,v)$$ If the ...
Aaron Roth's user avatar
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36 votes
1 answer
2k views

Toy Examples for Plotkin-Shmoys-Tardos and Arora-Kale solvers

I would like to understand how the Arora-Kale SDP solver approximates the Goemans-Williamson relaxation in nearly linear time, how the Plotkin-Shmoys-Tardos solver approximates fractional "...
Luca Trevisan's user avatar
35 votes
11 answers
2k views

Approximation algorithms for problems in P

One usually thinks about approximating solutions (with guarantees) to NP-hard problems. Is there any research going on in approximating problems already known to be in P? This might be a good idea for ...
aelguindy's user avatar
  • 951
29 votes
4 answers
2k views

Bounded-cardinality bounded-frequency set cover: hardness of approximation

Consider the minimum set cover problem with the following restrictions: each set contains at most $k$ elements and each element of the universe occurs in at most $f$ sets. Example: the case $k = 4$ ...
Jukka Suomela's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
1k views

Compendium of the Best Approximation and Hardness Results for NP optimization problems

Do you know any up-to-date wiki dedicated to NP optimization problems with their best approximation and hardness result? Based on the feedback, it seems that it is safe to assume there is not such a ...
27 votes
4 answers
1k views

Quantum approximation algorithms

It is generally considered unlikely that quantum computers will be able to solve NP-complete problems efficiently. In the classical case one approach to tackle such problems is to use approximation ...
Michal Kotowski's user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
993 views

When is relaxed counting hard?

Suppose we relax the problem of counting proper colorings by counting weighted colorings as follows: every proper coloring gets weight 1 and every improper coloring gets weight $c^v$ where $c$ is some ...
Yaroslav Bulatov's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
15k views

Universal Approximation Theorem — Neural Networks

I posted this earlier on MSE, but it was suggested that here may be a better place to ask. Universal approximation theorem states that "the standard multilayer feed-forward network with a single ...
Matt Munson's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
4k views

Approximation algorithms for Maximum Independent Set on special classes of graphs

We know that Maximum Independent Set (MIS) is hard to approximate within a factor of $n^{1-\epsilon}$ for any $\epsilon > 0$ unless P = NP. What are some special classes of graphs for which better ...
Arindam Pal's user avatar
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22 votes
5 answers
2k views

Theoretical Applications for Approximation Algorithms

Lately I've started looking into approximation algorithms for NP-hard problems and I was wondering about the theoretical reasons for studying them. (The question is not meant to be inflammatory - I'm ...
Anon1234's user avatar
  • 229
22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Polynomial time approximation algorithms for machine scheduling: how many open problems are left?

In 1999, Petra Schuurman and Gerhard J. Woeginger published the paper "Polynomial time approximation algorithms for machine scheduling: Ten open problems". Since then, to the best of my knowledge, ...
22 votes
3 answers
623 views

Educational Source or Survey on Analysis of Semidefinite Program?

When designing approximation algorithms one sometimes solves a semidefinite program followed by a rounding step. An often used example to illustrate this is Max-Cut. (See e.g. Approximation Algorithms ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 436
21 votes
1 answer
953 views

Approximate 1d TSP with linear comparisons?

The one-dimensional traveling salesperson path problem is, obviously, the same thing as sorting, and so can be solved exactly by comparisons in $O(n\log n)$ time, but it is formulated in such a way ...
David Eppstein's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
431 views

What are the best possible time/error tradeoffs for approximate solution of linear programs?

For concreteness consider the LP for solving a two-player zero-sum game where each player has $n$ actions. Suppose each entry of the payoff matrix $A$ is at most 1 in absolute value. For simplicity ...
Warren Schudy's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

Integrality gap and approximation ratio

When we consider an approximation algorithm for a minimization problem, the integrality gap of an IP formulation for this problem gives a lower bound of an approximation ratio for certain class of ...
Snowie's user avatar
  • 1,200
17 votes
3 answers
543 views

Is there a constant factor approximation algorithm for 2D rectangle coloring problem?

The problem we consider here is the extension of the well-known interval coloring problem. Instead of intervals we consider rectangles having sides parallel to axes. The objective is to color the ...
Soumitra's user avatar
  • 193
17 votes
2 answers
864 views

Set Cover for Permutation Matrices

Given a set S of nxn permutation matrices (which is only a small fraction of the n! possible permutation matrices), how can we find minimal-size subsets T of S such that adding the matrices of T has ...
Brayden Ware's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
613 views

Can we approximate the number of words accepted by an NFA?

Let $M$ be an acyclic NFA. Since $M$ is acyclic, $L(M)$ is finite. In a related question, it was suggested that exact counting of the number of words accepted by $M$ is $\#P$-Complete. The second ...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
17 votes
3 answers
530 views

Why differential approximation ratios are not well-studied comparing to standard ones despite of their claimed benefits?

There is a standard approximation theory where the approximation ratio is $\sup\frac{A}{OPT}$ (for problems with $MIN$ objectives), $A$ - the value returned by some algorithm $A$ and $OPT$ - an ...
Oleksandr Bondarenko's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
638 views

Approximation for counting the number of simple $s$-$t$ paths in a general graph

I have been told that there are some good polynomial time algorithms for approximating the number of simple paths in an directed graph from given starting vertex $s$ to given ending vertex $t$. Does ...
bbejot's user avatar
  • 1,099
17 votes
0 answers
788 views

Practically Good Algorithms of a Very Low Computational Complexity Class

I am looking for one (or more) examples of a parametric class of algorithms $P_t$ for approximately solving a class $\cal A$ of algorithmic questions with the following properties: 1) Solving the ...
Gil Kalai's user avatar
  • 6,053
16 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is there an online-algorithm to keep track of components in a changing undirected graph?

Problem I have an undirected graph (with multi-edges), which will change over time, nodes and edges may be inserted and deleted. On each modification of the graph, I have to update the connected ...
bitmask's user avatar
  • 361
16 votes
2 answers
557 views

Characterization of problems for which sublinear time algorithms exist

I was wondering if problems for which sublinear time (in the input size) algorithms exist can be characterized as possessing specific properties. This includes sublinear time (e.g. property testing, ...
Massimo Cafaro's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is known about this TSP variant?

This question was previously posted to Computer Science Stack Exchange here. Imagine you're a very successful travelling salesman with clients all over the country. To speed up shipping, you've ...
David Zhang's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
349 views

Approximation in subexponental time

There are studies about approximation algorithms for NP complete problems in Polynomial time and exact algorithms in exponential time. Are there studies about approximation algorithms for NP complete ...
Turbo's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
496 views

Imperfect subgraph isomorphism

Consider the following problem: Given a query graph $G = (V, E)$ and a reference graph $G' = (V', E')$, we want to find the injective mapping $f : V \rightarrow V'$ which minimizes the number of edges ...
a3nm's user avatar
  • 9,409
15 votes
1 answer
463 views

Graph decompositions for combining "local" functions of vertex labelings

Suppose we want to find $$\sum_x \prod_{ij \in E} f(x_i,x_j)$$ or $$\max_x \prod_{ij \in E} f(x_i,x_j)$$ Where max or sum is taken over all labelings of $V$, product is taken over all edges $E$ for a ...
Yaroslav Bulatov's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
633 views

Does PSPACE-completeness imply approximation hardness?

It is mentioned in a comment in another cstheorySE post that PSPACE-completeness imply APX-hardness. Can anyone please explain/share a reference for it? Is this "tight"? (i.e., are there PSPACE-...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
15 votes
1 answer
952 views

Integer relation detection for Subset Sum or NPP?

Is there a way to encode an instance of Subset Sum or the Number Partition Problem so that a (small) solution to an integer relation yields an answer? If not definitely, then in some probabilistic ...
user834's user avatar
  • 2,806
15 votes
0 answers
389 views

Complexity of approximating the range of a matrix

Given an $m$ by $n$ matrix $M$ with $m \leq n$ and elements from $\{-1,1\}$, let us define: $$S_M = |\{Mx : x \in \{-1,1\}^n\}|.$$ I believe that it is NP-hard to compute $S_M$ exactly, by applying ...
Simd's user avatar
  • 3,902
14 votes
2 answers
768 views

Proof assistant usage in complexity theory research?

Considering the topics covered at a conference like STOC, are any algorithm or complexity researchers actively using COQ or Isabelle? If so, how are they using it in their research? I assume most ...
nish2575's user avatar
  • 385
14 votes
1 answer
610 views

Why is the Greedy Conjecture so difficult?

I recently learned about the Greedy conjecture for the Shortest Superstring Problem. In this problem, we are given a set of strings $s_1,\dots, s_n$ and we want to find the shortest superstring $s$ ...
Mathieu Mari's user avatar
14 votes
0 answers
622 views

Approximation algorithm for Minimum Fill-In and/or minimum elimination ordering (for directed graphs)

Recently while working on a problem, I had to go through some of the literature on nested dissection. I happen to have one (maybe two?) questions related to the same. First, I will define a few ...
Akash Kumar's user avatar
  • 1,973
14 votes
1 answer
343 views

Space-approximation Trade-off

In their paper Approximate Distance Oracles, Thorup and Zwick showed that for any weighted undirected graph, it is possible to construct a data structure of size $O(k n^{1+1/k})$ that can return a $(...
Rachit's user avatar
  • 838
13 votes
4 answers
834 views

A Multi-cut Problem

I'm looking for a name or any references to this problem. Given a weighted graph $G = (V, E, w)$ find a partition of the vertices into up to $n = |V|$ sets $S_1,\ldots,S_n$ so as to maximize the ...
Aaron Roth's user avatar
  • 9,890
13 votes
5 answers
8k views

Is there any gradient descent based technique for searching absolute minimum (maximum) of a function in multidimensional space?

I'm familiar with gradient descent algorithm which can find local minimum (maximum) of a given function. Is there any modification of gradient descent which allows to find absolute minimum (maximum),...
Roman's user avatar
  • 233
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Relation between fixed parameter and approximation algorithm

Fixed parameter and approximation are totally different approaches to solve hard problems. They have different motivation. Approximation looks for faster result with approximate solution. Fixed ...
Prabu 's user avatar
  • 467
13 votes
2 answers
376 views

Strengthenings of submodularity

A set-function $f$ is monotone submodular if for all $A,B$, $$ f(A) + f(B) \geq f(A \cup B) + f(A \cap B). $$ A stronger property is $$ \begin{multline*} f(A) + f(B) + f(C) + f(A\cup B\cup C) \geq \\...
Yuval Filmus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
13 votes
1 answer
650 views

Is DAG subset sum approximable?

We are given a directed acyclic graph $G=(V,E)$ with a number associated with each vertex ($g:V\to \mathbb{N}$), and a target number $T\in \mathbb{N}$. The DAG subset sum problem (might exist under a ...
R B's user avatar
  • 9,458
13 votes
2 answers
657 views

Estimating VC-Dimension

What is known about the following problem? Given a collection $C$ of functions $f:\{0,1\}^n\rightarrow\{0,1\}$, find a largest subcollection $S \subseteq C$ subject to the constraint that VC-...
Aaron Roth's user avatar
  • 9,890
13 votes
1 answer
432 views

Good reference about approximate methods for solving logic problems

It is known that many logic problems (e.g. satisfiability problems of several modal logics) are not decidable. There are also many undecidable problems in algorithm theory, e.g. in combinatorial ...
TomR's user avatar
  • 409
12 votes
3 answers
589 views

What are the problems with the best approximation ratio achieved by algorithm returning uniformly random solution?

What are the problems with the best known approximation ratio achieved by an algorithm returning a uniformly random solution? I know one such example for permutation flow shop problem $F|perm|C_{max}...
Oleksandr Bondarenko's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
845 views

Approximation algorithms used in exact algorithms

Approximation algorithms might give output up to some constant factor. This is a bit less satisfying than exact algorithms. However, constant factors are ignored in time complexity. So I wonder if ...
sdcvvc's user avatar
  • 1,291
12 votes
5 answers
573 views

Submodular functions: reference request

I would be very much interested in references to the theory of submodular functions (from basics to advanced). In particular, I am studying approximations to hard optimization problems and I want to ...
Nikhil's user avatar
  • 664
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

counting independent sets

What algorithms/mathematical techniques are available to exactly/approximately count number of independent sets? Is/Are there a good reference/good references on this topic? I am interested in ...
v s's user avatar
  • 2,208
12 votes
2 answers
549 views

Approximate graph colouring with a promised upper bound on maximum independent set

In my job the following problem arises: Is there a known algorithm, that approximates the chromatic number of a graph without an independent set of order 65? (So alpha(G)<=64 is known and |V|/64 ...
cyrix42's user avatar
  • 123

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