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O(log 2 k/ log log k)-Approximation Algorithm for Directed Steiner Tree: A Tight Quasi-Polynomial-Time Algorithm


Laekhanukit,  Bundit
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Grandoni, F., Laekhanukit, B., & Li, S. (2018). O(log 2 k/ log log k)-Approximation Algorithm for Directed Steiner Tree: A Tight Quasi-Polynomial-Time Algorithm. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1811.03020.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-A880-F
In the Directed Steiner Tree (DST) problem we are given an $n$-vertex directed edge-weighted graph, a root $r$, and a collection of $k$ terminal nodes. Our goal is to find a minimum-cost arborescence that contains a directed path from $r$ to every terminal. We present an $O(\log^2 k/\log\log{k})$-approximation algorithm for DST that runs in quasi-polynomial-time. By adjusting the parameters in the hardness result of Halperin and Krauthgamer, we show the matching lower bound of $\Omega(\log^2{k}/\log\log{k})$ for the class of quasi-polynomial-time algorithms. This is the first improvement on the DST problem since the classical quasi-polynomial-time $O(\log^3 k)$ approximation algorithm by Charikar et al. (The paper erroneously claims an $O(\log^2k)$ approximation due to a mistake in prior work.) Our approach is based on two main ingredients. First, we derive an approximation preserving reduction to the Label-Consistent Subtree (LCST) problem. The LCST instance has quasi-polynomial size and logarithmic height. We remark that, in contrast, Zelikovsky's heigh-reduction theorem used in all prior work on DST achieves a reduction to a tree instance of the related Group Steiner Tree (GST) problem of similar height, however losing a logarithmic factor in the approximation ratio. Our second ingredient is an LP-rounding algorithm to approximately solve LCST instances, which is inspired by the framework developed by Rothvo{\ss}. We consider a Sherali-Adams lifting of a proper LP relaxation of LCST. Our rounding algorithm proceeds level by level from the root to the leaves, rounding and conditioning each time on a proper subset of label variables. A small enough (namely, polylogarithmic) number of Sherali-Adams lifting levels is sufficient to condition up to the leaves.