Title: Approximation algorithm for stochastic k-TSPSpeaker: David Aleman Affiliation: University of Waterloo Location: MC 6029 or contact Rian Neogi for Zoom link
Abstract: The input of the deterministic k-TSP problem consists of a metric complete graph with root p in which the nodes are assigned a fixed non-negative reward. The objective is to construct a p-rooted path of minimum length that collects total reward at least k. In this talk we will explore a stochastic variant of this problem in which the rewards assigned to the nodes are independent random variables, and the objective is to derive a policy that minimizes the expected length of a p-rooted path that collects total reward at least k. We will discuss approximation algorithms for this problem proposed in a paper by Ene, Nagarajan and Saket, and a paper by Jiang, Li, Liu and Singla.
Titile: Global geometric reductions for some bottleneck questions in hardness of approximationSpeaker: Vijay Bhattiprolu Affiliation: University of Waterloo Location: MC 5501 or contact Eva Lee for Zoom link
Abstract: I will describe the classical "local gadget reduction" paradigm for proving hardness of approximation results and then list some important optimization problems that resist all such attacks. With a focus on problems that can be cast as quadratic maximization over convex sets, I will describe some successes in bypassing the aforementioned bottleneck using ideas from geometry. Time permitting I will also describe some compelling new frontiers where answering some questions in convex geometry could be the path forward.