ICS Theory Group

ICS 269, Winter 1999: Theory Seminar

12 March 1999:
When does a dynamic programming formulation guarantee the existence of an FPTAS? (SODA99) by G. Woeginger
Speaker: Joseph Wang, ICS, UC Irvine

We derive results of the following flavor: If a combinatorial optimization problem can be formulated via a dynamic program of certain structure and if the involved cost and transition functions satisfy certain arithmetical conditions, then the optimization problem automatically possesses a fully polynomial time approximation scheme (FPTAS). Our characterizations provide a natural and uniform approach to fully polynomial time approximation schemes. We illustrate their strength and generality by deducing from them the existence of FPTASs for a multitude of scheduling problems. Many known approximability results follow as corollaries from our main result.