Dynamic set cover: improved algorithms and lower bounds

Abboud, Amir and Addanki, Raghavendra and Grandoni, Fabrizio and Panigrahi, Debmalya and Saha, Barna (2019) Dynamic set cover: improved algorithms and lower bounds. In: Proceedings of the 51st Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing UNSPECIFIED.

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We give new upper and lower bounds for the dynamic set cover problem. First, we give a (1+є) f-approximation for fully dynamic set cover in O(f2logn/є5) (amortized) update time, for any є > 0, where f is the maximum number of sets that an element belongs to. In the decremental setting, the update time can be improved to O(f2/є5), while still obtaining an (1+є) f-approximation. These are the first algorithms that obtain an approximation factor linear in f for dynamic set cover, thereby almost matching the best bounds known in the offline setting and improving upon the previous best approximation of O(f2) in the dynamic setting. To complement our upper bounds, we also show that a linear dependence of the update time on f is necessary unless we can tolerate much worse approximation factors. Using the recent distributed PCP-framework, we show that any dynamic set cover algorithm that has an amortized update time of O(f1−є) must have an approximation factor that is Ω(nδ) for some constant δ>0 under the Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis.

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