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Building Steiner trees with incomplete global knowledge

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2 Author(s)
Karget, D.R. ; Lab. for Comput. Sci., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Minkoff, M.

A networking problem of present-day interest is that of distributing a single data item to multiple clients while minimizing network usage. Steiner tree algorithms are a natural solution method, but only when the set of clients requesting the data is known. We study what can be done without this global knowledge, when a given vertex knows only the probability that any other client wishes to be connected, and must simply specify a fixed path to the data to be used in case it is requested. Our problem is an example of a class of network design problems with concave cost functions (which arise when the design problem exhibits economies of scale). In order to solve our problem, we introduce a new version of the facility location problem: one in which every open facility is required to have some minimum amount of demand assigned to it. We present a simple bicriterion approximation for this problem, one which is loose in both assignment cost and minimum demand, but within a constant factor of the optimum for both. This suffices for our application. We leave open the question of finding an algorithm that produces a truly feasible approximate solution

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

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