Set cover revisited: Hypergraph cover with hard capacities

Barna Saha, Samir Khuller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


In this paper, we consider generalizations of classical covering problems to handle hard capacities. In the hard capacitated set cover problem, additionally each set has a covering capacity which we are not allowed to exceed. In other words, after picking a set, we may cover at most a specified number of elements. Based on the classical results by Wolsey, an O(logn) approximation follows for this problem. Chuzhoy and Naor [FOCS 2002], first studied the special case of unweighted vertex cover with hard capacities and developed an elegant 3 approximation for it based on rounding a natural LP relaxation. This was subsequently improved to a 2 approximation by Gandhi et al. [ICALP 2003]. These results are surprising in light of the fact that for weighted vertex cover with hard capacities, the problem is at least as hard as set cover to approximate. Hence this separates the unweighted problem from the weighted version. The set cover hardness precludes the possibility of a constant factor approximation for the hard-capacitated vertex cover problem on weighted graphs. However, it was not known whether a better than logarithmic approximation is possible on unweighted multigraphs, i.e., graphs that may contain parallel edges. Neither the approach of Chuzhoy and Naor, nor the follow-up work of Gandhi et al. can handle the case of multigraphs. In fact, achieving a constant factor approximation for hard-capacitated vertex cover problem on unweighted multigraphs was posed as an open question in Chuzhoy and Naor's work. In this paper, we resolve this question by providing the first constant factor approximation algorithm for the vertex cover problem with hard capacities on unweighted multigraphs. Previous works cannot handle hypergraphs which is analogous to consider set systems where elements belong to at most f sets. In this paper, we give an O(f) approximation algorithm for this problem. Further, we extend these works to consider partial covers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAutomata, Languages, and Programming - 39th International Colloquium, ICALP 2012, Proceedings
Number of pages12
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2012
Event39th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming, ICALP 2012 - Warwick, United Kingdom
Duration: Jul 9 2012Jul 13 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
NumberPART 1
Volume7391 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other39th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming, ICALP 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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