Better approximation algorithms for bin covering

TitleBetter approximation algorithms for bin covering
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsCsirik J., Johnson DS, Kenyon C
Conference NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms
ISBN Number0898714907
KeywordsAlgorithms, Measurement, Performance, theory, Verification

Bin covering takes as input a list of items with sizes in (0, 1) and places them into bins of unit demand so as to maximize the number of bins whose demand is satisfied. This is in a sense a dual problem to the classical one-dimensional bin packing problem, but has for many years lagged behind the latter in terms of the guality of the best approximation algorithms. We design algorithms for this problem that close the gap, both in terms of worst- and average-case results. We present (1) the first asymptotic approximation scheme for the offline version, (2) algorithms that have bounded worst-case behavior for instances with discrete item sizes and expected behavior that is asymptotically optimal for all discrete "perfect-packing distributions" (ones for which optimal packings have sublinear expected waste), and (3) a learning algorithm that has asymptotically optimal expected behavior for all discrete distributions. The algorithms of (2) and (3) are based on the recently-developed online Sum-of-Squares algorithm for bin packing. We also present experimental analysis comparing the algorithms of (2) and suggesting that one of them, the Sum-of-Squares-with-Threshold algorithm, performs guite well even for discrete distributions that do not have the perfect-packing property.