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# A Robust and Optimal Online Algorithm for Minimum Metric Bipartite Matching

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## Cite As

Sharath Raghvendra. A Robust and Optimal Online Algorithm for Minimum Metric Bipartite Matching. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 60, pp. 18:1-18:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.APPROX-RANDOM.2016.18

## Abstract

We study the Online Minimum Metric Bipartite Matching Problem. In this problem, we are given point sets S and R which correspond to the server and request locations; here |S|=|R|=n. All these locations are points from some metric space and the cost of matching a server to a request is given by the distance between their locations in this space. In this problem, the request points arrive one at a time. When a request arrives, we must immediately and irrevocably match it to a "free" server. The matching obtained after all the requests are processed is the online matching M. The cost of M is the sum of the cost of its edges. The performance of any online algorithm is the worst-case ratio of the cost of its online solution M to the minimum-cost matching. We present a deterministic online algorithm for this problem. Our algorithm is the first to simultaneously achieve optimal performances in the well-known adversarial and the random arrival models. For the adversarial model, we obtain a competitive ratio of 2n-1 + o(1); it is known that no deterministic algorithm can do better than 2n-1. In the random arrival model, our algorithm obtains a competitive ratio of 2H_n - 1 + o(1); where H_n is the n-th Harmonic number. We also prove that any online algorithm will have a competitive ratio of at least 2H_n - 1-o(1) in this model. We use a new variation of the offline primal-dual method for computing minimum cost matching to compute the online matching. Our primal-dual method is based on a relaxed linear-program. Under metric costs, this specific relaxation helps us relate the cost of the online matching with the offline matching leading to its robust properties.
##### Keywords
• Online Algorithms
• Metric Bipartite Matching

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## References

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