ICS Theory Group

January 22, Winter Quarter 2010: Theory Seminar

1:00pm in 1423 Bren Hall

Paired Approximation Problems and Incompatible Inapproximabilities

David Eppstein, UC Irvine

Presenting his paper from SODA 2010

Abstract: This paper considers pairs of optimization problems that are defined from a single input and for which it is desired to find a good approximation to either one of the problems. In many instances, it is possible to efficiently find an approximation of this type that is better than known inapproximability lower bounds for either of the two individual optimization problems forming the pair. In particular, we find either a (1 + epsilon)-approximation to (1; 2)-TSP or a 1/epsilon-approximation to maximum independent set, from a given graph, in linear time. We show a similar paired approximation result for finding either a coloring or a long path. However, no such tradeoff exists in some other cases: for set cover and hitting set problems defined from a single set family, and for clique and independent set problems on the same graph, it is not possible to find an approximation when both problems are combined that is better than the best approximation for either problem on its own.