Buyback Problem - Approximate Matroid Intersection with Cancellation Costs

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Abstract

In the buyback problem, an algorithm observes a sequence of bids and must decide whether to accept each bid at the moment it arrives, subject to some constraints on the set of accepted bids. Decisions to reject bids are irrevocable, whereas decisions to accept bids may be canceled at a cost that is a fixed fraction of the bid value. Previous to our work, deterministic and randomized algorithms were known when the constraint is a matroid constraint. We extend this and give a deterministic algorithm for the case when the constraint is an intersection of k matroid constraints. We further prove a matching lower bound on the competitive ratio for this problem. This problem has applications to banner advertisement, semi-streaming, routing, load balancing and other problems where preemption or cancellation of previous allocations is allowed.