Approximation algorithms for partial covering problems

TitleApproximation algorithms for partial covering problems
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsGandhi R, Khuller S, Srinivasan A
JournalJournal of Algorithms
Pagination55 - 84
Date Published2004/10//
ISBN Number0196-6774
KeywordsApproximation algorithms, Partial covering, Primal-dual methods, Randomized rounding, Set cover, Vertex cover

We study a generalization of covering problems called partial covering. Here we wish to cover only a desired number of elements, rather than covering all elements as in standard covering problems. For example, in k-partial set cover, we wish to choose a minimum number of sets to cover at least k elements. For k-partial set cover, if each element occurs in at most f sets, then we derive a primal-dual f-approximation algorithm (thus implying a 2-approximation for k-partial vertex cover) in polynomial time. Without making any assumption about the number of sets an element is in, for instances where each set has cardinality at most three, we obtain an approximation of 4/3. We also present better-than-2-approximation algorithms for k-partial vertex cover on bounded degree graphs, and for vertex cover on expanders of bounded average degree. We obtain a polynomial-time approximation scheme for k-partial vertex cover on planar graphs, and for covering k points in Rd by disks.