L-reduction

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In computer science, particularly the study of approximation algorithms, an L-reduction ("linear reduction") is a transformation of optimization problems which linearly preserves approximability features; it is one type of approximation-preserving reduction. L-reductions in studies of approximability of optimization problems play a similar role to that of polynomial reductions in the studies of computational complexity of decision problems.

The term L reduction is sometimes used to refer to log-space reductions, by analogy with the complexity class L, but this is a different concept.

Definition[edit]

Let A and B be optimization problems and cA and cB their respective cost functions. A pair of functions f and g is an L-reduction if all of the following conditions are met:

  • functions f and g are computable in polynomial time,
  • if x is an instance of problem A, then f(x) is an instance of problem B,
  • if y' is a solution to f(x), then g(y' ) is a solution to x,
  • there exists a positive constant α such that
,
  • there exists a positive constant β such that for every solution y' to f(x)
.

Properties[edit]

Implication of PTAS reduction[edit]

An L-reduction from problem A to problem B implies an AP-reduction when A and B are minimization problems and a PTAS reduction when A and B are maximization problems. In both cases, when B has a PTAS and there is a L-reduction from A to B, then A also has a PTAS.[1][2] This enables the use of L-reduction as a replacement for showing the existence of a PTAS-reduction; Crescenzi has suggested that the more natural formulation of L-reduction is actually more useful in many cases due to ease of usage.[3]

Proof (minimization case)[edit]

Let the approximation ratio of B be . Begin with the approximation ratio of A, . We can remove absolute values around the third condition of the L-reduction definition since we know A and B are minimization problems. Substitute that condition to obtain

Simplifying, and substituting the first condition, we have

But the term in parentheses on the right-hand side actually equals . Thus, the approximation ratio of A is .

This meets the conditions for AP-reduction.

Proof (maximization case)[edit]

Let the approximation ratio of B be . Begin with the approximation ratio of A, . We can remove absolute values around the third condition of the L-reduction definition since we know A and B are maximization problems. Substitute that condition to obtain

Simplifying, and substituting the first condition, we have

But the term in parentheses on the right-hand side actually equals . Thus, the approximation ratio of A is .

If , then , which meets the requirements for PTAS reduction but not AP-reduction.

Other properties[edit]

L-reductions also imply P-reduction.[3] One may deduce that L-reductions imply PTAS reductions from this fact and the fact that P-reductions imply PTAS reductions.

L-reductions preserve membership in APX for the minimizing case only, as a result of implying AP-reductions.

Examples[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kann, Viggo (1992). On the Approximability of NP-complete \mathrm{OPT}imization Problems. Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. ISBN 91-7170-082-X. 
  2. ^ Christos H. Papadimitriou; Mihalis Yannakakis (1988). "\mathrm{OPT}imization, Approximation, and Complexity Classes". STOC '88: Proceedings of the twentieth annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing. doi:10.1145/62212.62233. 
  3. ^ a b Crescenzi, Pierluigi (1997). "A Short Guide To Approximation Preserving Reductions". Proceedings of the 12th Annual IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity. Washington, D.C.: IEEE Computer Society: 262–. 
  • G. Ausiello, P. Crescenzi, G. Gambosi, V. Kann, A. Marchetti-Spaccamela, M. Protasi. Complexity and Approximation. Combinatorial optimization problems and their approximability properties. 1999, Springer. ISBN 3-540-65431-3