The Design of Approximation Algorithms
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
This book is designed to be a textbook for graduate-level courses in approximation algorithms. After some experience teaching minicourses in the area in the mid-1990s, we sat down and wrote out an outline of the book. Then one of us (DPW), who was at the time an IBM Research Staff Member, taught several iterations of the course following the outline we had devised, in Columbia University’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in Spring 1998, in Cornell University’s School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering in Fall 1998, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science in Spring 2000. The lecture notes from these courses were made available, and we got enough positive feedback on them from students and from professors teaching such courses elsewhere that we felt we were on the right track. Since then, there have been many exciting developments in the area, and we have added many of them to the book; we taught additional iterations of the course at Cornell in Fall 2006 and Fall 2009 in order to field test some of the writing of the newer results.
The courses were developed for students who have already had a class, undergraduate or graduate, in algorithms, and who were comfortable with the idea of mathematical proofs about the correctness of algorithms. The book assumes this level of preparation. The book also assumes some basic knowledge of probability theory (for instance, how to compute the expected value of a discrete random variable). Finally, we assume that the reader knows something about NP-completeness, at least enough to know that there might be good reason for wanting fast, approximate solutions to NP-hard discrete optimization problems. At one or two points in the book, we do an NP-completeness reduction to show that it can be hard to find approximate solutions to such problems; we include a short appendix on the problem class NP and the notion of NP-completeness for those unfamiliar with the concepts. However, the reader unfamiliar with such reductions can also safely skip over such proofs.
In addition to serving as a graduate textbook, this book is a way for students to get the background to read current research in the area of approximation algorithms. In particular, we wanted a book that we could hand our own Ph.D. students just starting in the field and say, "Here, read this."
The book in numbers
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