neal young / Young00Kmedians

The paper gives approximation algorithms for the \(k\)medians and facilitylocation problems (both NPhard). For \(k\)medians, the algorithm returns a solution using at most \(\ln(n+n/\epsilon) k\) medians and having cost at most \((1+\epsilon)\) times the cost of the best solution that uses at most \(k\) medians. Here \(\epsilon>0\) is an input to the algorithm. In comparison, the best previous algorithm [Lin and Jeff Vitter, 1992] had a \((1+1/\epsilon)\ln n\) term instead of the \(\ln(n+n/\epsilon)\) term in the performance guarantee. For facility location, the algorithm returns a solution of cost at most \(d+\ln(n) k\), provided there exists a solution of cost \(d+k\) where \(d\) is the assignment cost and \(k\) is the facility cost. In comparison, the best previous algorithm [Dorit Hochbaum, 1982] returned a solution of cost at most \(\ln(n)(d+k)\). For both problems, the algorithms currently provide the best performance guarantee known for the general (nonmetric) problems.
The paper also introduces a new probabilistic bound (the socalled ChernoffWald bound) for bounding the expectation of the maximum of a collection of sums of random variables, when each sum contains a random number of terms. The bound is used to analyze the randomized rounding scheme that underlies the algorithms.
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