# 1 Approximating Set Cover

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1 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 Approximating Set Cover. Definition An Instance (X, F ) of the set-covering problem consists of a finite set X and a family F of subset of X, such that every elemennt of X belongs to at least one subset of F : X = S S F We say that a subset S F covers all elements in X. Our goal is to find a minimum size subset C F whose members cover all of X. X = S () S C The cost of the set-covering is the size of C, which defines as the number of sets it contains, and we want C to be minimum. An example of set-covering is shown in Figure. In this Figure, the minimum size set cover is C = {T 3, T 4, T 5 } and it has the size of 3. Figure : An instance (X, F ) of set-covering problem. Here, X consists of 2 vertices and F = {T, T 2, T 3, T 4, T 5, T 6 }. A minimum-size set cover is C = {S 3, S 4, S 5 }. The greedy algorithm produces set cover of size 4 by selecting the sets S, S 4, S 5, S 3 in order. Set-covering problem is a model for many resource covering problems. As mentioned earlier in the previous lecture, set-covering is an NP-Hard problem. We will now examine a greedy algorithm that gives logarithmic approximation solution..2 A Greedy Approximation Algorithm Idea: At each stage, the greedy algorithm picks the set S F that covers the greatest numbers of elements not yet covered. For the example in Figure, the greedy algorithm will first pick T because T covers the maximum number of uncovered elements, which is 6. Then, it will pick T 4 since it covers maximum number uncovered elements, which is 3, leaving 3 more elements uncovered. Then it will select T 5 and T 3, which cover 2 and uncovered elements, respectively. At this point, every element in X will be covered. By greedy algorithm, C = {T, T 4, T 5, T 3 } cost = C = 4 Page of 9

2 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 Where Optimum solution, C = {T 3, T 4, T 5 } cost = C = Algorithm : Greedy-Set-Cover (X, F ) U X C While U 0 do select an S F that maximizes S U U U S C C {S} return C The description of this algorithm are as following. First, start with an empty set C. Let C contains a cover being constructed. Let U contain, at each stage, the set of remaining uncovered elements. While there exists remaining uncovered elements, choose the set S from F that covers as many uncovered elements as possible, put that set in C and remove these covered elements from U. When all element are covered, C contains a subfamily of F that covers X and the algorithm terminates. Figure 2: Another instance (X, F ) of set-covering problem. Here, X consists of 9 vertices and F = {T, T 2, T 3, T 4 }. The greedy algorithm produces set cover of size 3 by selecting the sets T, T 3 and T 2 in order..3 Analysis Of Greedy-Set-Cover Theorem: Greedy-Set-Cover is a polynomial time α approximation algorithm, where α = H ( max { S : S F }) (2) and H(d) = the d th harmonic number, which is equal to d = d i= i = log d + O() (from equation (A.7) in Appendix A). From the previous lectures, we have C(T ) C(OP T ) = α (3) where C(T ) = the solution of Greedy-Set-Cover algorithm = C C(OP T ) = the optimal solution = C Page 2 of 9

3 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 So we have C C = α (4) this says that the Greedy-Set-Cover produces the set cover C that has the size not more than α times of that of the optimal solution. Combining equation (2) and (4), we get C C = H ( max { S : S F }) (5) Equation (2) and (5) are equal. So if we prove equation (5), we prove the theorem. Proof: From now on, we refer to Greedy-Set-Cover algorithm as the algorithm. To prove this algorithm, we assign a price of to each set S F selected by the algorithm and distribute this price over the elements covered for the first time. Let S i denote the i th subset selected by the algorithm at i th iteration. Let c x be the price allocated to element x X, that is covered for the first time at i th iteration. c x = S i ( S S 2... S i ) Notice that S i ( S S 2... S i ) is the number of elements covered for the first time by S i at i th iteration. For example, from Figure 2, the price allocated to each element is calculated as follows. At the st iteration, there are 6 elements covered for the first time by T. Therefore, the price of each of those 6 elements is c x = T = 6. In 2nd iteration, T 3 covers 2 new elements, so the price for each of those elements is c x = T 3 T = 2. Finally, in 3rd iteration, T 2 covers more new element, so the price for this is obviously and can be calculated from c x = T 2 (T T 3 ) = At each iteration of the algorithm, unit price is assigned and one of set S F is also added to the cover C, so the cost of the algorithm equals to the price of universe, x X c x. C = x X (6) c x (7) Notice that the optimal solution is intractable, so in order to find out how our greedy algorithm does in terms of performance compare to the optimal solution we need to make indirect comparisons by using some reference quantities. Here, the reference quantity is the price of universe, x X c x. The price assigned to the optimal cover is defined as S C We need to find a relationship of the price of universe and the price optimal cover. From the optimal cover price defined above, if some sets in the optimal solution overlap each other, the price of the overlapped elements in those sets will be double counted. So we have c x (8) S C c x c x x X Page 3 of 9

4 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 From equation (7) and (8), we get Claim: C c x (9) S C c x H ( S ) (0) If the claim is true, from equation (3) we will get C H ( S ) x C C H ( max { S : S F }) () which is the same as equation (5) and this proves the theorem. Here, It remains to be shown that our claim in equation (0) is true. Let S be any set S F and i =, 2,..., C, and let u i (S) = S (S S 2... S i ) be number of elements of S remaining uncovered after the algorithm adding S, S 2,..., S i to C at i th iteration. We define u 0 (S) = S to be the number of all elements in S, which is initially uncovered. Let k be the least index such that u k (S) = 0 so that at k th iteration all element in S are covered for the first time by the sets S, S 2,..., S i chosen by the algorithm. Notice that u 0 (S) u (S)... u k (S) u k (S). So we have u i (S) u i (S) and u i (S) u i (S) is the number of elements in S that are covered for the first time by S i at i th iteration, for i = i =, 2,..., k. Thus, c x = (u i (S) u i (S)) S (S S 2... S i ) i= (2) which is equal to the sum of number of elements of S covered by S i times the price assigned to each element at i th iteration. Observe that S i (S S 2... S i ) S (S S 2... S i ) (3) = u i (4) because S i is the gready choice at i th iteration, so S cannot cover more new elements than S i does (otherwise, S should be chosen by the algorithm instead of S i ). So by equation (2) and (4), we obtain c x (u i u i ) i= Page 4 of 9 u i

5 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 We now bound this quantity as follow: c x = = = (u i u i ) i= u i u i= j=u i + i u i i= j=u i + u i ( i= j= j ui j j= u i j ) (H(u i ) H(u i )) i= = H(u 0 ) H(u ) + (H(u ) H(u 2 ) H(u k ) H(u k ) = H(u 0 ) H(u k ) = H(u 0 ) H(0) = H(u 0 ) = H( S ) which is the same as our claim in equation (0) and so this completes our proof. 2 Approximating Shortest Superstring via Set Cover 2. Recap: Minimum Set Cover Recall the (Weighted) Set Cover problem, defined as follows. Set Cover Problem (SC): Given a universe X of elements, and a collection F of subsets S X, where each S F has an associated non-negative cost, find a subcollection C F of minimum total cost that covers X, assuming one exists. Valika showed us last time that although this problem is NP-hard to solve exactly, it can be approximated to a factor of H d = log d + O(), where d = max{ S : S F }, at least for the special case where cost(s) = S F. In fact, the algorithm and analysis generalizes quite naturally to the weighted problem, but I will give an alternate, perhaps more intuitive, proof of the approximation factor anyway. First, the algorithm is as follows. Page 5 of 9

6 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 Algorithm 2: GreedySetCover(X, F ) C 2 U X 3 while U do 4 Find set S F \ C that minimizes α := cost(s) S U. 5 for each x S U do 6 price(x) α C C {S} U U \ S return C Note the only 2 modifications in this algorithm from the one Valika presented yesterday, namely, the minimized quantity α in each iteration is now cost(s) S U instead of simply S U, and we incorporate this price associated with each element x covered for the first time into the algorithm (strictly to aid in the analysis). Now, we will show the slightly weaker bound than yesterday, that is, that GreedySetCover is an H n -approximation for Set Cover, where n = X. Observe that the cost of the returned solution C is precisely the total assigned price of each element in X, x X price(x). If we order the elements of X as x, x 2,..., x n by the order in which they were covered by the algorithm, breaking ties arbitrarily, then we can write this total cost as n k= price(x k). In order to show n k= price(x k) H n OPT, it thus suffices to prove the following lemma. Lemma: For each k {, 2,..., n}, price(x k ) OPT n k+, where OPT is the cost of the optimal cover. Proof: Consider the iteration during which x k is covered. At the beginning of the iteration, U contains all the elements as yet uncovered, of which there are at least n k +. Now, the optimal cover covers all of X, so in particular it certainly covers U. This implies that there exists a set that achieves α OPT. Why is this? Imagine, for this and future iterations, we choose sets from the optimal cover instead of minimizing α. If we maintain element prices as usual, then of the elements x 0 U must have price(x 0 ) OPT, since otherwise the total tally over the optimal cover will end up being > OPT, which is absurd. But then the set S that covered x 0 is precisely the one we re looking for, since its α can only increase over iterations as fewer and fewer elements become available over which it can distribute its cost. So coming back to our original algorithm, the existence of a set with α OPT means that since we take the set that minimizes α, the set we end up selecting during the current iteration must also have α OPT. But α is the value we assign to price(x k ), so we have price(x k ) OPT, where n k +, which gives us our lemma. This gives us the following theorem. Page 6 of 9

7 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 Theorem: GreedySetCover is an H n -approximation algorithm for the Set Cover problem. 2.2 Today: Shortest Superstring So now we move on to our main topic of today. We will see an application of the Vertex Cover approximation to in turn approximate a seemingly unrelated problem, namely Shortest Superstring (SS). This is not the best approximation known for SS, but it is nonetheless an interesting reduction. Applications of SS include DNA analysis and data compression. A strand of human DNA can be viewed as a long string over a 4-letter alphabet. Typically, only short substrings at a time can be read from arbitrary and unknown positions in the long strand, many of which may overlap, and it is conjectured that the shortest DNA string that contains all the read segments as substrings is a good approximation of the actual DNA strand. In data compression, instead of sending/storing a lot of strings independently, we can store a single shortest superstring, together with beginning and ending positions in it for each substring. 2.3 Definition Shortest Superstring Problem (SS): Given a finite alphabet Σ and a set of n strings S = {s, s 2,..., s n } Σ, find a shortest string s Σ that contains s i as a substring for each i =, 2,..., n. WLOG, assume no s i is a substring of s j, for i j. This problem is NP-hard, and a simple greedy algorithm for it (which I nevertheless don t have time/space to describe) is conjectured to be a 2-approximation. I guess that means this is still an open problem, at least at the time the book was written. We will instead use the H n -approximation of SC above to obtain a 2H n -approximation of SS. 2.4 The Algorithm Given an instance S Σ of SS, we wish to construct a corresponding instance (X, F ) of SC. In the SS problem, the set we need to cover, in some sense, is the set S of strings. So let our universe X of elements that need to be covered in the SC problem be S. Now, how do we associate a set set(σ) F with a string σ Σ so that set(σ) covers a string τ X = S if and only if τ is a substring of σ? We could define it to be the set of all substrings of σ, but since we want to limit our sets to subsets of X = S, we will define it as follows: set(σ) := {τ S : τ is a substring of σ} (5) A set cover, then, will be a collection of such sets set(σ), from which we derive a superstring of S by concatenating all the σ s together. However, we can t define F to be the collection of set(σ) s for all σ Σ, since F needs to be finite. On the other hand, we can t limit the σ s to just S, since the only superstring we would then get is the concatenation of all strings in S, a not very useful solution. To strike a balance, we wish the set of σ s to include various superstrings of every pair of strings in S. To be precise, let us pick an arbitrary order {s, s 2,..., s n } of S. Then for strings s i, s j S, if the last k > 0 symbols of s i are the same as the first k symbols of s j, let σ ijk denote the string obtained by overlapping these k symbols of s i and s j. Let I Page 7 of 9

8 CS 05: Algorithms (Grad) Feb 2-24, 2005 then be the set of σ ijk s for all valid choices of i, j, k, that is, the set of all good superstrings of pairs of strings in S. We can now define F as {set(σ) : σ S I}, and the associated cost of each set set(σ) is simply the length of σ, that is, σ. Based on this, we can now write down the algorithm for SS as follows. 2 3 Algorithm 3: ShortestSuperstring(S) Compute the instance (X, F ) of SC as described above. Let {set(σ ), set(σ 2 ),..., set(σ k )} be the collection of sets returned by GreedySetCover(X, F ). return s := σ σ 2 σ k 2.5 An Example The following is a simple example of the reduction. Consider the simplest alphabet Σ = {0, }, over which we have the SS problem instance S = {s = 00, s 2 = 00, s 3 = 00}. Then for the string 0000 Σ, for instance, we have set(0000) = {s = 00, s 3 = 00}. Next, we find I to be I = {σ 22 = 000, σ 32 = 000, σ 232 = 000, σ 3 = 000, σ 32 = 000} (6) And finally, we have the SC instance (X, F ), with X = S, F = {{s }, {s 2 }, {s 3 }, set(σ 22 ), set(σ 32 ), set(σ 232 ), set(σ 3 ), set(σ 32 )} (7) and set costs cost({s }) = s = 3 and cost(set(σ 22 )) = σ 22 = 6 as representative examples. 2.6 The Analysis It is clear that this is a polynomial time reduction, and that ShortestSuperstring gives some superstring of S. Since we know that GreedySetCover is an H n -approximation for SC, in order to show that ShortestSuperstring is a 2H n -approximation for SS it suffices to prove the following lemma. Lemma: Let OPT SC denote the cost of an optimal solution to the SS instance (X, F ), and OPT SS denote the length of the shortest superstring of S. Then OPT SC 2 OPT SS. Proof: It suffices to exhibit some set cover of cost 2 OPT SS. Let s be a shortest superstring of S, that is, one of length OPT SS, and let S = {s, s 2,..., s n } be ordered by each string s leftmost occurrence in s. For the rest of the proof, when we talk about strings in S we will be referring to this ordering and to that particular leftmost occurrence. It helps to follow the proof with Figure 3 for illustration. Note that since no string in S is a substring of another, for all i < j, s i must start before and end before s j. We will partition the ordered list s,..., s n into groups as follows. Denote by b i and e i the indices of the first and last string in the i th group. We let b = and e be the highest index such that s e still overlaps with s b. Then b 2 = e +, and e 2 is the highest index such that s e2 still overlaps with s b2, and so on, until we eventually have e t = n. Page 8 of 9

9 2 Proof : Consider an optimal set cover, say fset( i )j i lg, and obtain a string, say s, by concatenating the strings i, i l in any order. Clearly, jsj = OPT S. Since each string of S is a substring of some i, i l, it is also a substring of s. Hence OPT S = jsj OPT. To prove the second inequality, let s be a shortest superstring of s ::: s n, jsj =OPT. It suces to produce some set cover of cost at most 2 OPT. CS 05: Assume Algorithms that s (Grad) ::: s n are numbered in order of their leftmost Valika occurrence K. Wan & inkhanh s. ForDo the Barest of Setthe Cover proof, and we Application will onlytoconsider Shortestthe Superstring leftmost occurrences of s ::: s n in S. For Feb any 2-24, i<j,the 2005 occurrence of s i in s must end before the occurrence of s j (otherwise s j would be a substring of s i ). s ::: s b s e s b2 s e2 s b3 s e Figure 3: Partitioning and recovering of strings in S within shortest superstring. We will partition the ordered list of strings s ::: s n in groups. Each group will consist of a contiguous set of strings from this list b i and e i will denote the index of the rst and last string in Now, thefor i each group i (b{, i =.. e. i, is t}, allowed). by definition Let bs bi = must, and overlap let e s ei beby the some largest k i number index of ofasymbols. string that So let π i = σ bi e i k i. Clearly, π i covers s j for b i j e i, so that {set(π i ) : i {,..., t}} is a set cover of the SS instance (X, F ). We now make the final and key observation that each symbol in s is covered by at most 2 of the π i s. Why is this? Consider any i {,..., t 2} and we will show that π i cannot overlap π i+2. This is equivalent to saying s ei does not overlap s bi+2. But we know that s ei must end before s bi+ ends, and by construction s bi+2 must start after s bi+2 ends, so s ei certainly cannot overlap s bi+2. It follows that this set cover that we just found has a cost of i t π i 2 OPT SS, completing our proof. This gives us the following theorem. Theorem: ShortestSuperstring is a 2H n -approximation algorithm for the Shortest Superstring problem. Page 9 of 9

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