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A New Approach to Competitive Analysis: Approximating the Optimal Competitive Ratio
Zitatschlüssel Report-031-2011
Autor Günther, Elisabeth and Maurer, Olaf and Megow, Nicole and Wiese, Andreas
Jahr 2011
Nummer 031
Institution Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Mathematik
Zusammenfassung We propose a new approach to competitive analysis by introducing the novel concept of online approximation schemes. Such scheme algorithmically constructs an online algorithm with a competitive ratio arbitrarily close to the best possible competitive ratio for any online algorithm. We study the problem of scheduling jobs online to minimize the weighted sum of completion times on parallel, related, and unrelated machines, and we derive both deterministic and randomized algorithms which are almost best possible among all online algorithms of the respective settings. Our method relies on an abstract characterization of online algorithms combined with various simplifications and transformations. We also contribute algorithmic means to compute the actual value of the best possible competitive ratio up to an arbitrary accuracy. This strongly contrasts all previous manually obtained competitiveness results for algorithms and, most importantly, it reduces the search for the optimal competitive ratio to a question that a computer can answer. We believe that our method can also be applied to many other problems and yields a completely new and interesting view on online algorithms.
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