Local Search Breaks 1.75 for Graph Balancing

Authors Klaus Jansen, Lars Rohwedder

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Klaus Jansen
  • Department of Computer Science, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, Germany
Lars Rohwedder
  • Department of Computer Science, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, Germany

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Klaus Jansen and Lars Rohwedder. Local Search Breaks 1.75 for Graph Balancing. In 46th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 132, pp. 74:1-74:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Graph Balancing is the problem of orienting the edges of a weighted multigraph so as to minimize the maximum weighted in-degree. Since the introduction of the problem the best algorithm known achieves an approximation ratio of 1.75 and it is based on rounding a linear program with this exact integrality gap. It is also known that there is no (1.5 - epsilon)-approximation algorithm, unless P=NP. Can we do better than 1.75? We prove that a different LP formulation, the configuration LP, has a strictly smaller integrality gap. Graph Balancing was the last one in a group of related problems from literature, for which it was open whether the configuration LP is stronger than previous, simple LP relaxations. We base our proof on a local search approach that has been applied successfully to the more general Restricted Assignment problem, which in turn is a prominent special case of makespan minimization on unrelated machines. With a number of technical novelties we are able to obtain a bound of 1.749 for the case of Graph Balancing. It is not clear whether the local search algorithm we present terminates in polynomial time, which means that the bound is non-constructive. However, it is a strong evidence that a better approximation algorithm is possible using the configuration LP and it allows the optimum to be estimated within a factor better than 1.75. A particularly interesting aspect of our techniques is the way we handle small edges in the local search. We manage to exploit the configuration constraints enforced on small edges in the LP. This may be of interest to other problems such as Restricted Assignment as well.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Approximation algorithms analysis
  • graph
  • approximation algorithm
  • scheduling
  • integrality gap
  • local search


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