Packing Interdiction and Partial Covering Problems

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Abstract

In the Packing Interdiction problem we are given a packing LP together with a separate interdiction cost for each LP variable and a global interdiction budget. Our goal is to harm the LP: which variables should we forbid the LP from using (subject to forbidding variables of total interdiction cost at most the budget) in order to minimize the value of the resulting LP? Interdiction problems on graphs (interdicting the maximum flow, the shortest path, the minimum spanning tree, etc.) have been considered before; here we initiate a study of interdicting packing linear programs. Zenklusen showed that matching interdiction, a special case, is NP-hard and gave a 4-approximation for unit edge weights. We obtain an constant-factor approximation to the matching interdiction problem without the unit weight assumption. This is a corollary of our main result, an O(logq · min {q, logk})-approximation to Packing Interdiction where q is the row-sparsity of the packing LP and k is the column-sparsity.