## 68W25 Approximation algorithms

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The standard computational methods for computing the optimal value functions of Markov Decision Problems (MDP) require the exploration of the entire state space. This is practically infeasible for applications with huge numbers of states as they arise, e.\,g., from modeling the decisions in online optimization problems by MDPs. Exploiting column generation techniques, we propose and apply an LP-based method to determine an $\varepsilon$-approximation of the optimal value function at a given state by inspecting only states in a small neighborhood. In the context of online optimization problems, we use these methods in order to evaluate the quality of concrete policies with respect to given initial states. Moreover, the tools can also be used to obtain evidence of the impact of single decisions. This way, they can be utilized in the design of policies.

In this paper we consider a simple variant of the Online Dial-a-Ride Problem from a probabilistic point of view. To this end, we look at a probabilistic version of this online Dial-a-Ride problem and introduce a probabilistic notion of the competitive ratio which states that an algorithm performs well on the vast majority of the instances. Our main result is that under the assumption of high load a certain online algorithm is probabilistically $(1+o(1))$-competitive if the underlying graph is a tree. This result can be extended to general graphs by using well-known approximation techniques at the expense of a distortion factor~$O(\log\|V\|)$.

In this paper we describe a new algorithm for multiple semi-flexible superpositioning of drug-sized molecules. The algorithm identifies structural similarities of two or more molecules. When comparing a set of molecules on the basis of their three-dimensional structures, one is faced with two main problems. (1) Molecular structures are not fixed but flexible, i.e., a molecule adopts different forms. To address this problem, we consider a set of conformers per molecule. As conformers we use representatives of conformational ensembles, generated by the program ZIBMol. (2) The degree of similarity may vary considerably among the molecules. This problem is addressed by searching for similar substructures present in arbitrary subsets of the given set of molecules. The algorithm requires to preselect a reference molecule. All molecules are compared to this reference molecule. For this pairwise comparison we use a two-step approach. Clique detection on the correspondence graph of the molecular structures is used to generate start transformations, which are then iteratively improved to compute large common substructures. The results of the pairwise comparisons are efficiently merged using binary matching trees. All common substructures that were found, whether they are common to all or only a few molecules, are ranked according to different criteria, such as number of molecules containing the substructure, size of substructure, and geometric fit. For evaluating the geometric fit, we extend a known scoring function by introducing weights which allow to favor potential pharmacophore points. Despite considering the full atomic information for identifying multiple structural similarities, our algorithm is quite fast. Thus it is well suited as an interactive tool for the exploration of structural similarities of drug-sized molecules.