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Online Bipartite Matching with Decomposable Weights


We study a weighted online bipartite matching problem: G(V1 , V2 , E) is a weighted bipartite graph where V1 is known beforehand and the vertices of V2 arrive online. The goal is to match vertices of V2 as they arrive to vertices in V1, so as to maximize the sum of weights of edges in the matching. If assignments to V1 cannot be changed, no bounded competitive ratio is achievable. We study the weighted online matching problem with free disposal, where vertices in V1 can be assigned multiple times, but only get credit for the maximum weight edge assigned to them over the course of the algorithm. For this problem, the greedy algorithm is 0.5-competitive and determining whether a better competitive ratio is achievable is a well known open problem. We identify an interesting special case where the edge weights are decomposable as the product of two factors, one corresponding to each end point of the edge. This is analogous to the well studied related machines model in the scheduling literature, although the objective functions are different. For this case of decomposable edge weights, we design a 0.5664 competitive randomized algorithm in complete bipartite graphs. We show that such instances with decomposable weights are non-trivial by establishing upper bounds of 0.618 for deterministic and 0.8 for randomized algorithms. A tight competitive ratio of 1 ? 1/e ? 0.632 was known previously for both the 0-1 case as well as the case where edge weights depend on the offline vertices only, but for these cases, reassignments cannot change the quality of the solution. Beating 0.5 for weighted matching where reassignments are necessary has been a significant challenge. We thus give the first online algorithm with competitive ratio strictly better than 0.5 for a non-trivial case of weighted matching with free disposal.

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Paper in Conference Proceedings or in Workshop Proceedings (Full Paper in Proceedings)
Event Title
22nd European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2014)
Theory and Applications of Algorithms
Event Location
Wrocław, Poland
Event Type
Event Dates
September 8–10, 2014
September 2014
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