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Shorter tours and longer detours: uniform covers and a bit beyond

Arash Haddadan 1 Alantha Newman 2 R. Ravi 1
2 G-SCOP_OC - Optimisation Combinatoire
G-SCOP - Laboratoire des sciences pour la conception, l'optimisation et la production
Abstract : Motivated by the well known four-thirds conjecture for the traveling salesman problem (TSP), we study the problem of {\em uniform covers}. A graph $G=(V,E)$ has an $\alpha$-uniform cover for TSP (2EC, respectively) if the everywhere $\alpha$ vector (i.e. $\{\alpha\}^{E}$) dominates a convex combination of incidence vectors of tours (2-edge-connected spanning multigraphs, respectively). The polyhedral analysis of Christofides' algorithm directly implies that a 3-edge-connected, cubic graph has a 1-uniform cover for TSP. Seb\H{o} asked if such graphs have $(1-\epsilon)$-uniform covers for TSP for some $\epsilon > 0$. Indeed, the four-thirds conjecture implies that such graphs have 8/9-uniform covers. We show that these graphs have 18/19-uniform covers for TSP. We also study uniform covers for 2EC and show that the everywhere 15/17 vector can be efficiently written as a convex combination of 2-edge-connected spanning multigraphs. For a weighted, 3-edge-connected, cubic graph, our results show that if the everywhere 2/3 vector is an optimal solution for the subtour linear programming relaxation, then a tour with weight at most 27/19 times that of an optimal tour can be found efficiently. Node-weighted, 3-edge-connected, cubic graphs fall into this category. In this special case, we can apply our tools to obtain an even better approximation guarantee. To extend our approach to input graphs that are 2-edge-connected, we present a procedure to decompose an optimal solution for the subtour relaxation for TSP into spanning, connected multigraphs that cover each 2-edge cut an even number of times. Using this decomposition, we obtain a 17/12-approximation algorithm for minimum weight 2-edge-connected spanning subgraphs on subcubic, node-weighted graphs.
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Arash Haddadan, Alantha Newman, R. Ravi. Shorter tours and longer detours: uniform covers and a bit beyond. Mathematical Programming, Springer Verlag, 2021, 185, pp.245-273. ⟨10.1007/s10107-019-01426-8⟩. ⟨hal-02379741⟩

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