Group:Algorithms Group
Title: Online Stochastic Matching: Beating 1-1/e (Feldman, Mehta, Mirrokni, Muthukrish
Speaker: Henry Lin University
Time: 2010-04-27 14:00-2010-04-27 15:00
Venue: FIT 1-222


We study the online stochastic bipartite matching problem, in a form motivated by display ad allocation on the Internet. In the online, but adversarial case, the celebrated result of Karp, Vazirani and Vazirani gives an approximation ratio of $1-1/e$. In the online, stochastic case when nodes are drawn repeatedly from a known distribution, the greedy algorithm matches this approximation ratio, but still, no algorithm is known that beats the $1 - 1/e$ bound. Our main result is a 0.67-approximation online algorithm for stochastic bipartite matching, breaking this $1 - {1/e}$ barrier. Furthermore, we show that no online algorithm can produce a $1-\epsilon$ approximation for an arbitrarily small $\epsilon$ for this problem. We employ a novel application of the idea of the power of two choices from load balancing: we compute two disjoint solutions to the expected instance, and use both of them in the online algorithm in a prescribed preference order.  To identify these two disjoint solutions, we solve a max flow problem in a boosted flow graph, and then carefully decompose this maximum flow to two edge-disjoint (near-)matchings. These two offline solutions are used to characterize an upper bound for the optimum in any scenario. This is done by identifying a cut whose value we can bound under the arrival distribution.