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A randomized algorithm for the on-line weighted bipartite matching problem. (English) Zbl 1176.68239
Summary: We study the on-line minimum weighted bipartite matching problem in arbitrary metric spaces. Here, n not necessary disjoint points of a metric space M are given, and are to be matched on-line with n points of M revealed one by one. The cost of a matching is the sum of the distances of the matched points, and the goal is to find or approximate its minimum. The competitive ratio of the deterministic problem is known to be Θ(n) [see B. Kalyanasundaram and K. Pruhs, J. Algorithms 14, No. 3, 478–488 (1993; Zbl 0768.68151), and S. Khuller, S. G. Mitchell and V. V. Vazirani, Theor. Comput. Sci. 127, No. 2, 255–267 (1994; Zbl 0938.68934)]. It was conjectured by B. Kalyanasundaram and K. Pruhs [Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 1442, 268–280 (1998)] that a randomized algorithm may perform better against an oblivious adversary, namely with an expected competitive ratio Θ(logn). We prove a slightly weaker result by showing a o(log 3 n) upper bound on the expected competitive ratio. As an application the same upper bound holds for the notoriously hard fire station problem, where M is the real line [see B. Fuchs, W. Hochstättler and W. Kern, Theor. Comput. Sci. 332, No. 1–3, 251–264 (2005; Zbl 1070.68157), and E. Koutsoupias and A. Nanavati, Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 2909, 179–191 (2004; Zbl 1173.68865)].
68W20Randomized algorithms
68W27Online algorithms
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