Theory of Computing Systems

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 227–250 | Cite as

Optimal Path Discovery Problem with Homogeneous Knowledge

  • Christopher Thraves Caro
  • Josu DoncelEmail author
  • Olivier Brun


Consider the following problem: given a complete graph G = (V, E), two nodes s and t in V, and a positive hidden value f(e) for each edge eE, discover an st-path P that minimizes the value F(P), for some objective function F. The issue is that the edge values f(⋅) are hidden, hence, to discover an optimal path, it is required to uncover the value of some edges. The goal then is to discover an optimal path by means of uncovering the least possible amount of edge values. This problem, named the Optimal Path Discovery (OPD) problem, is an extension of the well known Shortest Path Discovery problem in which f(e) represents the length of e, and F(P) computes the length of P. In this paper, we study the OPD problem when the only previous information known about the f(⋅) values is that they fall in the interval (0,) for all eE. We first study the number of uncovered edges as a measure to evaluate algorithms. We see that this measure does not differentiate correctly algorithms according to their performance. Therefore, we introduce the query ratio, the ratio between the number of uncovered edges and the least number of edge values required to solve the problem. We prove a 1 + 4/n − 8/n2 lower bound on the query ratio and we present an algorithm whose query ratio, when it finds the optimal path, is upper bounded by 2 − 1/(n − 1), where n = |V |. Finally, we implement different algorithms and evaluate their query ratio experimentally.


Optimal path Query ratio Shortest path discovery problem Lower and upper bounds 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under the PANACEA Project (, grant agreement n 610764, from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 777778, from the Basque Government, Spain, Consolidated Research Group called Mathematical Modeling, Simulation and Industrial Application (MS2I) with the Grant Reference IT649-13 and from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness project with reference MTM2016-76329-R.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Matemática, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y MatemáticasUniversidad de ConcepciónCasillaChile
  2. 2.Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Operations Research DepartmentUniversity of the Basque CountryLeioaSpain
  3. 3.LAAS-CNRSUniversité de Toulouse, CNRSToulouseFrance

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