Optimal distributed covering algorithms

Ran Ben-Basat, Guy Even, Ken ichi Kawarabayashi, Gregory Schwartzman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We present a time-optimal deterministic distributed algorithm for approximating a minimum weight vertex cover in hypergraphs of rank f. This problem is equivalent to the Minimum Weight Set Cover problem in which the frequency of every element is bounded by f. The approximation factor of our algorithm is (f + ε). Let ∆ denote the maximum degree in the hypergraph. Our algorithm runs in the congest model and requires O(log ∆/log log ∆) rounds, for constants ε ∊ (0, 1] and f ∊ N+. This is the first distributed algorithm for this problem whose running time does not depend on the vertex weights nor the number of vertices. Thus adding another member to the exclusive family of provably optimal distributed algorithms. For constant values of f and ε, our algorithm improves over the (f + ε)-approximation algorithm of [18] whose running time is O(log ∆ + log W), where W is the ratio between the largest and smallest vertex weights in the graph. Our algorithm also achieves an f-approximation for the problem in O(f log n) rounds, improving over the classical result of [15] that achieves a running time of O(f log2 n). Finally, for weighted vertex cover (f = 2) our algorithm achieves a deterministic running time of O(log n), matching the randomized previously best result of [16]. We also show that integer covering-programs can be reduced to the Minimum Weight Set Cover problem in the distributed setting. This allows us to achieve an (f + ε)-approximate integral solution in (Formula presented.) rounds, where f bounds the number of variables in a constraint, ∆ bounds the number of constraints a variable appears in, and M = max {1, d1/amine}, where amin is the smallest normalized constraint coefficient. This improves over the results of [18] for the integral case, which combined with rounding achieves the same guarantees in O(ε−4 · f4 · log f · log(M · ∆)) rounds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019
EditorsJukka Suomela
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959771269
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Event33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019 - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 14 Oct 201918 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Conference33rd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2019


  • Approximation Algorithms
  • Distributed Algorithms
  • Set Cover
  • Vertex Cover


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