New Approaches to Network Design (NEWNET)
ERC Starting Grant 279352

THE PROJECT
Networks pervade every aspect of nowadays life. This is one of the reasons why their design, management, and analysis is one of the most active areas of theoretical and empirical research in Computer Science and Operations Research. The main goal of this project is to increase our theoretical understanding of networks, with a special focus on faster exact/parametrized algorithms and more accurate polynomial-time approximation algorithms for NP-hard network problems. We will consider classic, challenging open problems in the literature, as well as new, exciting problems arising from the applications. These problems will be addressed with the most advanced algorithmic and analytical tools. A second, ambitious goal of this project is to stimulate the interaction and cross-fertilization between parametrized/exact and approximation algorithms.

The project focuses on (but is not limited to) the following three main research areas:
O Approximation algorithms for network design: the basic goal here is to compute in polynomial time a network which supports a given traffic pattern and whose cost is close to the minimum possible one. Classical network design problems include, e.g., (price-collecting) Steiner tree, TSP, k-MST, and (Connected) Facility Location. Other, more recent, network design problems addressed in the literature are Rent-or-Buy, Buy-at-Bulk, and Virtual Private Network. One can also consider robust, multi-objective, online, game-theoretical or stochastic versions of these problems. We would like to address some relevant open problems, and to study some novel problems arising from the applications.
O Approximation algorithms for pricing problems: here one wants to sell items to a set of customers in order to maximize the total profit. Basic problems include tollbooth, highway, vertex pricing, and their limited-supply, coupon, and envy-free variants. Often the best known approximation algorithms here are (almost) trivial. We would like to increase our theoretical understanding of the approximability of these problems (both in terms of upper and lower bounds). 
O From approximation algorithms to exact ones and back: probably the most common tools to solve exactly NP-hard problems are LP-based heuristics (such as branch-and-bound and cutting-plane methods). These techniques are typically validated experimentally. On the other hand, the goal of parametrized/exact algorithms is to provide non-trivial worst-case upper bounds on the time complexity of those problems. The latter algorithms are most of the times based on rather different (non LP-based) techniques. We would like to explore the design of faster parametrized/exact algorithms via LP-based tools, and vice versa to study some known LP-based heuristics in terms of worst-case running time (at least for restricted classes of problems).   

The project started on January 2012, and will end on December 2016. The total funding is about 1.1 million euros.

POSTDOCs
There is a vacant PostDoc position, for up to 1 year. The gross salary is approximately 75.000 CHF per year (taxes around 20%-25%). No teaching duties. Generous travel support. Here you can find the formal call. Please, e-mail all the required documents also to:
fabrizio@idsia.ch

For any question, please contact me at fabrizio@idsia.ch


PHD
The project currently supports two Ph.D. students: Salvatore Ingala and Sumedha Gupta. There are no other available Ph.D. positions at the moment.

SUPPORTED POSTDOCSs and VISITING Ph.D. STUDENTs

Dr. Marek Cygan, February 2012-October 2012. (postdoc)

Mr. Bundit Laekhanukit, July 2012-September 2012. (visitng student)

SUPPORTED VISITs
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Andreas Wiese, 2012.
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Danny Hermelin, 2012.
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Kavitha Telikepalli, 2012.

Martin Gross, 2012.

Vincenzo Bonifaci, 2013.

Yuval Rabani, 2013.

Zeev Nutov, 2013.

Matthias Englert, 2013.

Parinya Chalermsook, 2013.

SOME PUBLICATIONS

Utilitarian mechanism design for multi-objective optimization. F. Grandoni, P. Krysta, S. Leonardi, and C. Ventre. To appear in SIAM Journal on Computing.

New approaches to multi-objective optimization. F. Grandoni, R. Ravi, M. Singh, and R. Zenklusen. To appear in Mathematical Programming.

A mazing 2+ε approximation for unplittable flow on a path A. Anagnostopoulos, F. Grandoni, S. Leonardi, and A. Wiese. In SODA, 2014.

Constant integrality gap LP formulations of unsplittable flow on a path. A. Anagnostopoulos, F. Grandoni, S. Leonardi, and A. Wiese. In IPCO, 2013.

Steiner tree approximation via iterative randomized rounding. J. Byrka, F. Grandoni, T. Rothvoß, L. Sanità. In Journal of the ACM, 2013.

Tight kernel bounds for problems on graphs with small degeneracy (extended abstract). M. Cygan, F. Grandoni, D. Hermelin. In ESA, 2013.

How to sell hyperedges: the hypermatching assignment problem. M. Cygan, F. Grandoni, M. Matrolilli. In SODA, 2013.

On pairwise spanners. M. Cygan, F. Grandoni, and K. Telikepalli. In STACS, 2013.

Known algorithms for edge clique cover are probably optimal. M. Cygan, M. Pilipczuk, and M. Pilipczuk. In SODA, 2013.

Graph products revisited: Tight approximation hardness of induced matching, poset dimension, and more. P. Chalermsook, B. Laekhanukit, D. Nanongkai. In SODA, 2013.

Set covering with our eyes closed. F. Grandoni, A. Gupta, S. Leonardi, P. Miettinen, P. Sakowski, M. Singh. In SIAM Journal on Computing, 2013.

Directed subset feedback vertex set is fixed-parameter tractable. R. Chitnis, M. Cygan, M. Hajiaghayi, and D. Marx. In ICALP, 2012.

Designing FPT algorithms for cut problems using randomized contractions. R. Chitnis, M. Cygan, M. Hajiaghayi, M. Pilipczuk, and M. Pilipczuk. In FOCS, 2012.

Deterministic parameterized connected vertex cover. M. Cygan. In SWAT, 2012. Best student paper award.

Algorithmic applications of Baur-Strassen's theorem. M. Cygan, H. N. Gabow, and P. Sankowski. In FOCS, 2012.

A path-decomposition theorem with applications to pricing and covering on trees. M. Cygan, F. Grandoni, S. Leonardi, M. Pilipczuk, and P. Sakowski. In ESA, 2012.

LP rounding for k-centers with non-uniform hard capacities. M. Cygan, M. Hajiaghayi, and S. Khuller. In FOCS, 2012.

Steiner forest orientation problems. M. Cygan, G. Kortsarz, and Z. Nutov. In ESA, 2012.

Clique cover and graph separation: New incompressibility results. M. Cygan, S. Kratsch, M. Pilipczuk, M. Pilipczuk, and M. Wahlstrom. In ICALP, 2012.

On group feedback vertex set parameterized by the size of the cutset. M. Cygan, M. Pilipczuk, and M.Pilipczuk. In WG, 2012. Best student paper award.

Sitting closer to friends than enemies, revised. M. Cygan, M. Pilipczuk, M. Pilipczuk, and J. O. Wojtaszczyk. In MFCS, 2012.

Improved distance sensitivity oracles via fast single-source replacement paths. F. Grandoni and V. Vassilevska Williams. In FOCS, 2012.

On min-power Steiner tree. F. Grandoni. In ESA, 2012.

Non-redistributive second welfare theorems.  B. Laekhanukit, G. Naves, A. Vetta. In WINE, 2012.

A rounding by sampling approach to the minimum size k-arc connected subgraph problem. B. Laekhanukit, S. Oveis Gharan, M. Singh. In ICALP, 2012.

Routing regardless of network stability. B. Laekhanukit, A. Vetta, G. Wilfong. In ESA, 2012.








Updated 8/5/2014