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We consider the maximum flow problem with minimum quantities (MFPMQ), which is a variant of the maximum flow problem where
the flow on each arc in the network is restricted to be either zero or above a given lower bound (a minimum quantity), which
may depend on the arc. This problem has recently been shown to be weakly NP-complete even on series-parallel graphs.
In this paper, we provide further complexity and approximability results for MFPMQ and several special cases.
We first show that it is strongly NP-hard to approximate MFPMQ on general graphs (and even bipartite graphs) within any positive factor.
On series-parallel graphs, however, we present a pseudo-polynomial time dynamic programming algorithm for the problem.
We then study the case that the minimum quantity is the same for each arc in the network and show that, under this restriction, the problem is still
weakly NP-complete on general graphs, but can be solved in strongly polynomial time on series-parallel graphs.
On general graphs, we present a \((2 - 1/\lambda) \)-approximation algorithm for this case, where \(\lambda\) denotes the common minimum quantity of all arcs.

We prove a general monotonicity result about Nash flows in directed networks and use it for the design of truthful mechanisms in the setting where each edge of the network is controlled by a different selfish agent, who incurs costs when her edge is used. The costs for each edge are assumed to be linear in the load on the edge. To compensate for these costs, the agents impose tolls for the usage of edges. When nonatomic selfish network users choose their paths through the network independently and each user tries to minimize a weighted sum of her latency and the toll she has to pay to the edges, a Nash flow is obtained. Our monotonicity result implies that the load on an edge in this setting can not increase when the toll on the edge is increased, so the assignment of load to the edges by a Nash flow yields a monotone algorithm. By a well-known result, the monotonicity of the algorithm then allows us to design truthful mechanisms based on the load assignment by Nash flows. Moreover, we consider a mechanism design setting with two-parameter agents, which is a generalization of the case of one-parameter agents considered in a seminal paper of Archer and Tardos. While the private data of an agent in the one-parameter case consists of a single nonnegative real number specifying the agent's cost per unit of load assigned to her, the private data of a two-parameter agent consists of a pair of nonnegative real numbers, where the first one specifies the cost of the agent per unit load as in the one-parameter case, and the second one specifies a fixed cost, which the agent incurs independently of the load assignment. We give a complete characterization of the set of output functions that can be turned into truthful mechanisms for two-parameter agents. Namely, we prove that an output function for the two-parameter setting can be turned into a truthful mechanism if and only if the load assigned to every agent is nonincreasing in the agent's bid for her per unit cost and, for almost all fixed bids for the agent's per unit cost, the load assigned to her is independent of the agent's bid for her fixed cost. When the load assigned to an agent is continuous in the agent's bid for her per unit cost, it must be completely independent of the agent's bid for her fixed cost. These results motivate our choice of linear cost functions without fixed costs for the edges in the selfish routing setting, but the results also seem to be interesting in the context of algorithmic mechanism design themselves.

This paper presents a case study of duty rostering for physicians at a department of orthopedics and trauma surgery. We provide a detailed description of the rostering problem faced and present an integer programming model that has been used in practice for creating duty rosters at the department for more than a year. Using real world data, we compare the model output to a manually generated roster as used previously by the department and analyze the quality of the rosters generated by the model over a longer time span. Moreover, we demonstrate how unforeseen events such as absences of scheduled physicians are handled.

We consider a variant of the generalized assignment problem (GAP) where the amount of space used in each bin is restricted to be either zero (if the bin is not opened) or above a given lower bound (a minimum quantity). We provide several complexity results for different versions of the problem and give polynomial time exact algorithms and approximation algorithms for restricted cases.
For the most general version of the problem, we show that it does not admit a polynomial time approximation algorithm (unless P=NP), even for the case of a single bin. This motivates to study dual approximation algorithms that compute solutions violating the bin capacities and minimum quantities by a constant factor. When the number of bins is fixed and the minimum quantity of each bin is at least a factor \(\delta>1\) larger than the largest size of an item in the bin, we show how to obtain a polynomial time dual approximation algorithm that computes a solution violating the minimum quantities and bin capacities by at most a factor \(1-\frac{1}{\delta}\) and \(1+\frac{1}{\delta}\), respectively, and whose profit is at least as large as the profit of the best solution that satisfies the minimum quantities and bin capacities strictly.
In particular, for \(\delta=2\), we obtain a polynomial time (1,2)-approximation algorithm.

Online Delay Management
(2010)

We present extensions to the Online Delay Management Problem on a Single Train Line. While a train travels along the line, it learns at each station how many of the passengers wanting to board the train have a delay of delta. If the train does not wait for them, they get delayed even more since they have to wait for the next train. Otherwise, the train waits and those passengers who were on time are delayed by delta. The problem consists in deciding when to wait in order to minimize the total delay of all passengers on the train line. We provide an improved lower bound on the competitive ratio of any deterministic online algorithm solving the problem using game tree evaluation. For the extension of the original model to two possible passenger delays delta_1 and delta_2, we present a 3-competitive deterministic online algorithm. Moreover, we study an objective function modeling the refund system of the German national railway company, which pays passengers with a delay of at least Delta a part of their ticket price back. In this setting, the aim is to maximize the profit. We show that there cannot be a deterministic competitive online algorithm for this problem and present a 2-competitive randomized algorithm.

We study an online flow shop scheduling problem where each job consists of several tasks that have to be completed in t different stages and the goal is to maximize the total weight of accepted jobs.
The set of tasks of a job contains one task for each stage and each stage has a dedicated set of identical parallel machines corresponding to it that can only process tasks of this stage. In order to gain the weight (profit) associated with a job j, each of its tasks has to be executed between a task-specific release date and deadline subject to the constraint that all tasks of job j from stages 1, …, i-1 have to be completed before the task of the ith stage can be started. In the online version, jobs arrive over time and all information about the tasks of a job becomes available at the release date of its first task. This model can be used to describe production processes in supply chains when customer orders arrive online.
We show that even the basic version of the offline problem with a single machine in each stage, unit weights, unit processing times, and fixed execution times for all tasks (i.e., deadline minus release date equals processing time) is APX-hard. Moreover, we show that the approximation ratio of any polynomial-time approximation algorithm for this basic version of the problem must depend on the number t of stages.
For the online version of the basic problem, we provide a (2t-1)-competitive deterministic online algorithm and a matching lower bound. Moreover, we provide several (sometimes tight) upper and lower bounds on the competitive ratio of online algorithms for several generalizations of the basic problem involving different weights, arbitrary release dates and deadlines, different processing times of tasks, and several identical machines per stage.

In retail, assortment planning refers to selecting a subset of products to offer that maximizes profit. Assortments can be planned for a single store or a retailer with multiple chain stores where demand varies between stores. In this paper, we assume that a retailer with a multitude of stores wants to specify her offered assortment. To suit all local preferences, regionalization and store-level assortment optimization are widely used in practice and lead to competitive advantages. When selecting regionalized assortments, a tradeoff between expensive, customized assortments in every store and inexpensive, identical assortments in all stores that neglect demand variation is preferable.
We formulate a stylized model for the regionalized assortment planning problem (APP) with capacity constraints and given demand. In our approach, a 'common assortment' that is supplemented by regionalized products is selected. While products in the common assortment are offered in all stores, products in the local assortments are customized and vary from store to store.
Concerning the computational complexity, we show that the APP is strongly NP-complete. The core of this hardness result lies in the selection of the common assortment. We formulate the APP as an integer program and provide algorithms and methods for obtaining approximate solutions and solving large-scale instances.
Lastly, we perform computational experiments to analyze the benefits of regionalized assortment planning depending on the variation in customer demands between stores.