A Constant-Factor Approximation for Directed Latency in Quasi-Polynomial Time

Authors Zachary Friggstad, Chaitanya Swamy

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Zachary Friggstad
  • Department of Computer Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Chaitanya Swamy
  • Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo, Canada

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Zachary Friggstad and Chaitanya Swamy. A Constant-Factor Approximation for Directed Latency in Quasi-Polynomial Time. In 28th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 173, pp. 52:1-52:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


We consider the directed minimum latency problem (DirLat), wherein we seek a path P visiting all points (or clients) in a given asymmetric metric starting at a given root node r, so as to minimize the sum of the client waiting times, where the waiting time of a client v is the length of the r-v portion of P. We give the first constant-factor approximation guarantee for DirLat, but in quasi-polynomial time. Previously, a polynomial-time O(log n)-approximation was known [Z. Friggstad et al., 2013], and no better approximation guarantees were known even in quasi-polynomial time. A key ingredient of our result, and our chief technical contribution, is an extension of a recent result of [A. Köhne et al., 2019] showing that the integrality gap of the natural Held-Karp relaxation for asymmetric TSP-Path (ATSPP) is at most a constant, which itself builds on the breakthrough similar result established for asymmetric TSP (ATSP) by Svensson et al. [O. Svensson et al., 2018]. We show that the integrality gap of the Held-Karp relaxation for ATSPP is bounded by a constant even if the cut requirements of the LP relaxation are relaxed from x(δ^{in}(S)) ≥ 1 to x(δ^{in}(S)) ≥ ρ for some constant 1/2 < ρ ≤ 1. We also give a better approximation guarantee for the minimum total-regret problem, where the goal is to find a path P that minimizes the total time that nodes spend in excess of their shortest-path distances from r, which can be cast as a special case of DirLat involving so-called regret metrics.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Approximation algorithms analysis
  • Approximation Algorithms
  • Directed Latency
  • TSP


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