, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 517-537
Date: 08 Apr 2009

A Preemptive Algorithm for Maximizing Disjoint Paths on Trees

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Abstract

We consider the on-line version of the maximum vertex disjoint path problem when the underlying network is a tree. In this problem, a sequence of requests arrives in an on-line fashion, where every request is a path in the tree. The on-line algorithm may accept a request only if it does not share a vertex with a previously accepted request. The goal is to maximize the number of accepted requests. It is known that no on-line algorithm can have a competitive ratio better than Ω(log n) for this problem, even if the algorithm is randomized and the tree is simply a line. Obviously, it is desirable to beat the logarithmic lower bound. Adler and Azar (Proc. of the 10th ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithm, pp. 1–10, 1999) showed that if preemption is allowed (namely, previously accepted requests may be discarded, but once a request is discarded it can no longer be accepted), then there is a randomized on-line algorithm that achieves constant competitive ratio on the line. In the current work we present a randomized on-line algorithm with preemption that has constant competitive ratio on any tree. Our results carry over to the related problem of maximizing the number of accepted paths subject to a capacity constraint on vertices (in the disjoint path problem this capacity is 1). Moreover, if the available capacity is at least 4, randomization is not needed and our on-line algorithm becomes deterministic.

Research supported in part by the Israel Science Foundation.