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The online median problem

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2 Author(s)
Mettu, R.R. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA ; Plaxton, C.G.

We introduce a natural variant of the (metric uncapacitated) k-median problem that we call the online median problem. Whereas the k-median problem involves optimizing the simultaneous placement of k facilities, the on-line median problem imposes the following additional constraints: the facilities are placed one at a time; a facility cannot be moved once it is placed, and the total number of facilities to be placed, k, is not known in advance. The objective of an online median algorithm is to minimize the competitive ratio, that is, the worst-case ratio of the cost of an online placement to that of an optimal offline placement. Our main result is a linear-time constant-competitive algorithm for the online median problem. In addition, we present a related, though substantially simpler linear-time constant-factor approximation algorithm for the (metric uncapacitated) facility location problem. The latter algorithm is similar in spirit to the recent primal-dual-based facility location algorithm of Jain and Vazirani, but our approach is more elementary and yields an improved running time

Published in:

Foundations of Computer Science, 2000. Proceedings. 41st Annual Symposium on

Date of Conference: