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# New Bounds on Augmenting Steps of Block-Structured Integer Programs

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LIPIcs.ESA.2020.33.pdf
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## Cite As

Lin Chen, Martin Koutecký, Lei Xu, and Weidong Shi. New Bounds on Augmenting Steps of Block-Structured Integer Programs. In 28th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 173, pp. 33:1-33:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2020.33

## Abstract

Iterative augmentation has recently emerged as an overarching method for solving Integer Programs (IP) in variable dimension, in stark contrast with the volume and flatness techniques of IP in fixed dimension. Here we consider 4-block n-fold integer programs, which are the most general class considered so far. A 4-block n-fold IP has a constraint matrix which consists of n copies of small matrices A, B, and D, and one copy of C, in a specific block structure. Iterative augmentation methods rely on the so-called Graver basis of the constraint matrix, which constitutes a set of fundamental augmenting steps. All existing algorithms rely on bounding the 𝓁₁- or 𝓁_∞-norm of elements of the Graver basis. Hemmecke et al. [Math. Prog. 2014] showed that 4-block n-fold IP has Graver elements of 𝓁_∞-norm at most 𝒪_FPT(n^{2^{s_D}}), leading to an algorithm with a similar runtime; here, s_D is the number of rows of matrix D and 𝒪_FPT hides a multiplicative factor that is only dependent on the small matrices A,B,C,D, However, it remained open whether their bounds are tight, in particular, whether they could be improved to 𝒪_FPT(1), perhaps at least in some restricted cases. We prove that the 𝓁_∞-norm of the Graver elements of 4-block n-fold IP is upper bounded by 𝒪_FPT(n^{s_D}), improving significantly over the previous bound 𝒪_FPT(n^{2^{s_D}}). We also provide a matching lower bound of Ω(n^{s_D}) which even holds for arbitrary non-zero lattice elements, ruling out augmenting algorithm relying on even more restricted notions of augmentation than the Graver basis. We then consider a special case of 4-block n-fold in which C is a zero matrix, called 3-block n-fold IP. We show that while the 𝓁_∞-norm of its Graver elements is Ω(n^{s_D}), there exists a different decomposition into lattice elements whose 𝓁_∞-norm is bounded by 𝒪_FPT(1), which allows us to provide improved upper bounds on the 𝓁_∞-norm of Graver elements for 3-block n-fold IP. The key difference between the respective decompositions is that a Graver basis guarantees a sign-compatible decomposition; this property is critical in applications because it guarantees each step of the decomposition to be feasible. Consequently, our improved upper bounds let us establish faster algorithms for 3-block n-fold IP and 4-block IP, and our lower bounds strongly hint at parameterized hardness of 4-block and even 3-block n-fold IP. Furthermore, we show that 3-block n-fold IP is without loss of generality in the sense that 4-block n-fold IP can be solved in FPT oracle time by taking an algorithm for 3-block n-fold IP as an oracle.

## Subject Classification

##### ACM Subject Classification
• Theory of computation → Parameterized complexity and exact algorithms
• Mathematics of computing → Combinatorial algorithms
##### Keywords
• Integer Programming
• Graver basis
• Fixed parameter tractable

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