In the min-cost bipartite perfect matching with delays (MBPMD) problem, requests arrive online at points of a finite metric space. Each request is either positive or negative and has to be matched to a request of opposite polarity. As opposed to traditional online matching problems, the algorithm does not have to serve requests as they arrive, and may choose to match them later at a cost. Our objective is to minimize the sum of the distances between matched pairs of requests (the connection cost) and the sum of the waiting times of the requests (the delay cost). This objective exhibits a natural tradeoff between minimizing the distances and the cost of waiting for better matches. This tradeoff appears in many real-life scenarios, notably, ride-sharing platforms. MBPMD is related to its non-bipartite variant, min-cost perfect matching with delays (MPMD), in which each request can be matched to any other request. MPMD was introduced by Emek et al. (STOC'16), who showed an O(log^2(n)+log(Delta))-competitive randomized algorithm on n-point metric spaces with aspect ratio Delta.

Our contribution is threefold. First, we present a new lower bound construction for MPMD and MBPMD. We get a lower bound of Omega(sqrt(log(n)/log(log(n)))) on the competitive ratio of any randomized algorithm for MBPMD. For MPMD, we improve the lower bound from Omega(sqrt(log(n))) (shown by Azar et al., SODA'17) to Omega(log(n)/log(log(n))), thus, almost matching their upper bound of O(log(n)). Second, we adapt the algorithm of Emek et al. to the bipartite case, and provide a simplified analysis that improves the competitive ratio to O(log(n)). The key ingredient of the algorithm is an O(h)-competitive randomized algorithm for MBPMD on weighted trees of height h. Third, we provide an O(h)-competitive deterministic algorithm for MBPMD on weighted trees of height h. This algorithm is obtained by adapting the algorithm for MPMD by Azar et al. to the apparently more complicated bipartite setting.