Approximation Algorithms That Take Advice

  • Sanjeev Arora
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1913)


Many recently designed approximation algorithms use a simple but apparently powerful idea. The algorithm is allowed to ask a trusted oracle for a small number (say O(log n)) bits of “advice” For instance, it could ask for O(log n) bits of the optimum answer. Of course, strictly speaking, a polynomial-time algorithm has no need for log n bits of advice: it could just try all possibilities for this advice and retain the one that works the best. Nevertheless, this is a useful way of thinking about some approximation algorithms. In the talk I will present a few examples. My title is a play on the title of a classic paper on nonuniform computation “Turing Machines that take advice” (Karp and Lipton 1982).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjeev Arora
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer SciencePrinceton UniversityPrinceton

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