Proceedings 41st Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (2000)

Redondo Beach, California

Nov. 12, 2000 to Nov. 14, 2000

ISSN: 0272-5428

ISBN: 0-7695-0850-2

pp: 339

R.R. Mettu , Dept. of Comput. Sci., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA

C.G. Plaxton , Dept. of Comput. Sci., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA

ABSTRACT

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.

INDEX TERMS

facility location; heuristic programming; approximation theory; online median problem; k-median problem; competitive ratio; worst-case ratio; linear-time constant-competitive algorithm; linear-time constant-factor approximation algorithm; primal-dual-based facility location algorithm

CITATION

R. Mettu and C. Plaxton, "The online median problem,"

*Proceedings 41st Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science(FOCS)*, Redondo Beach, California, 2000, pp. 339.

doi:10.1109/SFCS.2000.892122

CITATIONS