On-line bin-stretching

Yossi Azar*, Oded Regev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We are given a sequence of items that can be packed into m unit size bins. In the classical bin packing problem we fix the size of the bins and try to pack the items in the minimum number of such bins. In contrast, in the bin-stretching problem we fix the number of bins and try to pack the items while stretching the size of the bins as least as possible. We present two on-line algorithms for the bin-stretching problem that guarantee a stretching factor of 5/3 for any number m of bins. We then combine the two algorithms and design an algorithm whose stretching factor is 1.625 for any m. The analysis for the performance of this algorithm is tight. The best lower bound for any algorithm is 4/3 for any m≥2. We note that the bin-stretching problem is also equivalent to the classical scheduling (load balancing) problem in which the value of the makespan (maximum load) is known in advance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-41
Number of pages25
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Oct 2001
EventOn-line Algorithms'98 (OLA'98) - Udine, Italy
Duration: 31 Aug 19985 Sep 1998


  • Approximation algorithms
  • Bin stretching
  • Bin-packing
  • Load balancing
  • On-line algorithms
  • Scheduling


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