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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 244, 30th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2022)

In this paper, we consider center-based clustering problems where C, the set of points to be clustered, lies in a metric space (X,d), and the set X of candidate centers is potentially infinite-sized. We call such problems continuous clustering problems to differentiate them from the discrete clustering problems where the set of candidate centers is explicitly given. It is known that for many objectives, when one restricts the set of centers to C itself and applies an α_dis-approximation algorithm for the discrete version, one obtains a β ⋅ α_{dis}-approximation algorithm for the continuous version via the triangle inequality property of the distance function. Here β depends on the objective, and for many objectives such as k-median, β = 2, while for some others such as k-means, β = 4. The motivating question in this paper is whether this gap of factor β between continuous and discrete problems is inherent, or can one design better algorithms for continuous clustering than simply reducing to the discrete case as mentioned above? In a recent SODA 2021 paper, Cohen-Addad, Karthik, and Lee prove a factor-2 and a factor-4 hardness, respectively, for the continuous versions of the k-median and k-means problems, even when the number of cluster centers is a constant. The discrete problem for a constant number of centers is easily solvable exactly using enumeration, and therefore, in certain regimes, the "β-factor loss" seems unavoidable.
In this paper, we describe a technique based on the round-or-cut framework to approach continuous clustering problems. We show that, for the continuous versions of some clustering problems, we can design approximation algorithms attaining a better factor than the β-factor blow-up mentioned above. In particular, we do so for: the uncapacitated facility location problem with uniform facility opening costs (λ-UFL); the k-means problem; the individually fair k-median problem; and the k-center with outliers problem. Notably, for λ-UFL, where β = 2 and the discrete version is NP-hard to approximate within a factor of 1.27, we describe a 2.32-approximation for the continuous version, and indeed 2.32 < 2 × 1.27. Also, for k-means, where β = 4 and the best known approximation factor for the discrete version is 9, we obtain a 32-approximation for the continuous version, which is better than 4 × 9 = 36.
The main challenge one faces is that most algorithms for the discrete clustering problems, including the state of the art solutions, depend on Linear Program (LP) relaxations that become infinite-sized in the continuous version. To overcome this, we design new linear program relaxations for the continuous clustering problems which, although having exponentially many constraints, are amenable to the round-or-cut framework.

Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Maryam Negahbani, and Ankita Sarkar. Approximation Algorithms for Continuous Clustering and Facility Location Problems. In 30th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 244, pp. 33:1-33:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{chakrabarty_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2022.33, author = {Chakrabarty, Deeparnab and Negahbani, Maryam and Sarkar, Ankita}, title = {{Approximation Algorithms for Continuous Clustering and Facility Location Problems}}, booktitle = {30th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2022)}, pages = {33:1--33:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-247-1}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {244}, editor = {Chechik, Shiri and Navarro, Gonzalo and Rotenberg, Eva and Herman, Grzegorz}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops-dev.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2022.33}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-169710}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2022.33}, annote = {Keywords: Approximation Algorithms, Clustering, Facility Location, Fairness, Outliers} }

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Track A: Algorithms, Complexity and Games

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 198, 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)

In the Priority k-Center problem, the input consists of a metric space (X,d), an integer k and for each point v ∈ X a priority radius r(v). The goal is to choose k-centers S ⊆ X to minimize max_{v ∈ X} 1/(r(v)) d(v,S). If all r(v)’s were uniform, one obtains the classical k-center problem. Plesník [Ján Plesník, 1987] introduced this problem and gave a 2-approximation algorithm matching the best possible algorithm for vanilla k-center. We show how the Priority k-Center problem is related to two different notions of fair clustering [Harris et al., 2019; Christopher Jung et al., 2020]. Motivated by these developments we revisit the problem and, in our main technical contribution, develop a framework that yields constant factor approximation algorithms for Priority k-Center with outliers. Our framework extends to generalizations of Priority k-Center to matroid and knapsack constraints, and as a corollary, also yields algorithms with fairness guarantees in the lottery model of Harris et al.

Tanvi Bajpai, Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Chandra Chekuri, and Maryam Negahbani. Revisiting Priority k-Center: Fairness and Outliers. In 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 198, pp. 21:1-21:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{bajpai_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.21, author = {Bajpai, Tanvi and Chakrabarty, Deeparnab and Chekuri, Chandra and Negahbani, Maryam}, title = {{Revisiting Priority k-Center: Fairness and Outliers}}, booktitle = {48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)}, pages = {21:1--21:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-195-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {198}, editor = {Bansal, Nikhil and Merelli, Emanuela and Worrell, James}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops-dev.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.21}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-140909}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.21}, annote = {Keywords: Fairness, Clustering, Approximation, Outliers} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 107, 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018)

We study the F-center problem with outliers: given a metric space (X,d), a general down-closed family F of subsets of X, and a parameter m, we need to locate a subset S in F of centers such that the maximum distance among the closest m points in X to S is minimized.
Our main result is a dichotomy theorem. Colloquially, we prove that there is an efficient 3-approximation for the F-center problem with outliers if and only if we can efficiently optimize a poly-bounded linear function over F subject to a partition constraint. One concrete upshot of our result is a polynomial time 3-approximation for the knapsack center problem with outliers for which no (true) approximation algorithm was known.

Deeparnab Chakrabarty and Maryam Negahbani. Generalized Center Problems with Outliers. In 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 107, pp. 30:1-30:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)

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@InProceedings{chakrabarty_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2018.30, author = {Chakrabarty, Deeparnab and Negahbani, Maryam}, title = {{Generalized Center Problems with Outliers}}, booktitle = {45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018)}, pages = {30:1--30:14}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-076-7}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2018}, volume = {107}, editor = {Chatzigiannakis, Ioannis and Kaklamanis, Christos and Marx, D\'{a}niel and Sannella, Donald}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops-dev.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2018.30}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-90345}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2018.30}, annote = {Keywords: Approximation Algorithms, Clustering, k-Center Problem} }

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