TechTalks from event: FOCS 2011

We will be uploading the videos for FOCS 2011 during the week of Nov 28th 2011. If you find any discrepancy, please let us know by clicking on report error link on talk page. If you did not permit the video to be published and by mistake we have published your talk, please notify us immediately at support AT


  • On Range Searching in the Group Model and Combinatorial Discrepancy Authors: Kasper Green Larsen
    In this paper we establish an intimate connection between dynamic range searching in the group model and combinatorial discrepancy. Our result states that, for a broad class of range searching data structures (including all known upper bounds), it must hold that $t_u t_q = \Omega(\disc^2/\lg n)$ where $t_u$ is the worst case update time, $t_q$ the worst case query time and $\disc$ is the combinatorial discrepancy of the range searching problem in question. This relation immediately implies a whole range of exceptionally high and near-tight lower bounds for all of the basic range searching problems. We list a few of them in the following: \begin{itemize} \item For halfspace range searching in $d$-dimensional space, we get a lower bound of $t_u t_q = \Omega(n^{1-1/d}/\lg n)$. This comes within a $\lg n \lg \lg n$ factor of the best known upper bound. \item For orthogonal range searching in $d$-dimensional space, we get a lower bound of $t_u t_q = \Omega(\lg^{d-2+\mu(d)}n)$, where $\mu(d)>0$ is some small but strictly positive function of $d$. \item For ball range searching in $d$-dimensional space, we get a lower bound of $t_u t_q = \Omega(n^{1-1/d}/\lg n)$. \end{itemize} We note that the previous highest lower bound for any explicit problem, due to Patrascu [STOC'07], states that $t_q =\Omega((\lg n/\lg(\lg n+t_u))^2)$, which does however hold for a less restrictive class of data structures. Our result also has implications for the field of combinatorial discrepancy. Using textbook range searching solutions, we improve on the best known discrepancy upper bound for axis-aligned rectangles in dimensions $d \geq 3$.
  • A Randomized Rounding Approach to the Traveling Salesman Problem Authors: Shayan Oveis Gharan and Amin Saberi and Mohit Singh
    For some positive constant $\epsilon_0$, we give a $(\frac{3}{2}-\epsilon_0$)-approximation algorithm for the following problem: given a graph $G_0=(V,E_0)$, find the shortest tour that visits every vertex at least once. This is a special case of the metric traveling salesman problem when the underlying metric is defined by shortest path distances in $G_0$. The result improves on the $\frac{3}{2}$-approximation algorithm due to Christofides for this special case.Similar to Christofides, our algorithm finds a spanning tree whose cost is upper bounded by the optimum, then it finds the minimum cost Eulerian augmentation (or T-join) of that tree. The main difference is in the selection of the spanning tree. Except in certain cases where the solution of LP is nearly integral, we select the spanning tree randomly by sampling from a maximum entropy distribution defined by the linear programming relaxation. Despite the simplicity of the algorithm, the analysis builds on a variety of ideas such as properties of strongly Rayleigh measures from probability theory, graph theoretical results on the structure of near minimum cuts, and the integrality of the T-join polytope from polyhedral theory. Also, as a byproduct of our result, we show new properties of the near minimum cuts of any graph, which may be of independent interest.
  • Approximating Graphic TSP by Matchings Authors: Tobias Moemke and Ola Svensson
    We present a framework for approximating the metric TSP based on a novel use of matchings. Traditionally, matchings have been used to add edges in order to make a given graph Eulerian, whereas our approach also allows for the removal of certain edges leading to a decreased cost. For the TSP on graphic metrics (graph-TSP), the approach yields a 1.461-approximation algorithm with respect to the Held-Karp lower bound. For graph-TSP restricted to a class of graphs that contains degree three bounded and claw-free graphs, we show that the integrality gap of the Held-Karp relaxation matches the conjectured ratio 4/3. The framework allows for generalizations in a natural way and also leads to a 1.586-approximation algorithm for the traveling salesman path problem on graphic metrics where the start and end vertices are prespecified.