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Inapproximability Results for the Inverse Shortest Paths Problem with Integer Length and Unique Shortest Paths

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-8388
  • We study the complexity of two Inverse Shortest Paths (ISP) problems with integer arc lengths and the requirement for uniquely determined shortest paths. Given a collection of paths in a directed graph, the task is to find positive integer arc lengths such that the given paths are uniquely determined shortest paths between their respective terminals. The first problem seeks for arc lengths that minimize the length of the longest of the prescribed paths. In the second problem, the length of the longest arc is to be minimized. We show that it is $np-hard$ to approximate the minimal longest path length within a factor less than $8/7$ or the minimal longest arc length within a factor less than $9/8$. This answers the (previously) open question whether these problems are $np-hard$ or not. We also present a simple algorithm that achieves an $\mathcal{O}(|V|)$-approximation guarantee for both variants. Both ISP problems arise in the planning of telecommunication networks with shortest path routing protocols. Our results imply that it is $\mathcal{NP}$-hard to decide whether a given path set can be realized with a real shortest path routing protocol such as OSPF, IS-IS, or RIP.

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Author:Andreas Bley
Document Type:ZIB-Report
Tag:Approximation; Computational Complexity; Inverse Shortest Paths; Shortest Path Routing
MSC-Classification:05-XX COMBINATORICS (For finite fields, see 11Txx) / 05Cxx Graph theory (For applications of graphs, see 68R10, 81Q30, 81T15, 82B20, 82C20, 90C35, 92E10, 94C15) / 05C38 Paths and cycles [See also 90B10]
68-XX COMPUTER SCIENCE (For papers involving machine computations and programs in a specific mathematical area, see Section -04 in that area) / 68Qxx Theory of computing / 68Q25 Analysis of algorithms and problem complexity [See also 68W40]
90-XX OPERATIONS RESEARCH, MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING / 90Bxx Operations research and management science / 90B18 Communication networks [See also 68M10, 94A05]
90-XX OPERATIONS RESEARCH, MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING / 90Cxx Mathematical programming [See also 49Mxx, 65Kxx] / 90C27 Combinatorial optimization
90-XX OPERATIONS RESEARCH, MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING / 90Cxx Mathematical programming [See also 49Mxx, 65Kxx] / 90C60 Abstract computational complexity for mathematical programming problems [See also 68Q25]
Date of first Publication:2005/01/12
Series (Serial Number):ZIB-Report (05-04)
Published in:Appeared in: Networks 50 (2007) 29-36. And also as : "Finding Small Administrative Lengths for Shortest Path Routing" in Proceedings of the Second International Network Optimization Conference vol(1) (INOC 2005) 121-128, Lisboa
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