# APPROXIMATION ALGORITHMS FOR MAXIMUM VERTEX-WEIGHTED MATCHING

We consider the maximum vertex-weighted matching problem (MVM), in which non-negative weights are assigned to the vertices of a graph, and the weight of a matching is the sum of the weights of the matched vertices. Vertex-weighted matchings arise in many applications, including internet advertising, facility scheduling, constraint satisfaction, the design of network switches, and computation of sparse bases for the null space or the column space of a matrix. Let m be the number of edges, n number of vertices, and D the maximum degree of a vertex in the graph. We design two exact algorithms for the MVM problem with time complexities of O(mn) and O(Dmn). The new exact algorithms use a maximum cardinality matching as an initial matching, after which the weight of the matching is increased using weight-increasing paths.

Although MVM problems can be solved exactly in polynomial time, exact MVM algorithms are still slow in practice for large graphs with millions and even billions of edges. Hence we investigate several approximation algorithms for MVM in this thesis. First we show that a maximum vertex-weighted matching can be approximated within an approximation ratio arbitrarily close to one, to k/(k + 1), where k is related to the length of augmenting or weight-increasing paths searched by the algorithm. We identify two main approaches for designing approximation algorithms for MVM. The first approach is direct; vertices are sorted in non-increasing order of weights, and then the algorithm searches for augmenting paths of restricted length that reach a heaviest vertex. (In this approach each vertex is processed once). The second approach repeatedly searches for augmenting paths and increasing paths, again of restricted length, until none can be found. In this second, iterative approach, a vertex may need to be processed multiple times. We design two approximation algorithms based on the direct approach with approximation ratios of 1/2 and 2/3. The time complexities of the 1/2-approximation algorithm is O(m + n log n), and that of the 2/3-approximation algorithm is O(mlogD). Employing the second approach, we design 1/2- and 2/3-approximation algorithms for MVM with time complexities of O(Dm) and O(D2m), respectively. We show that the iterative algorithm can be generalized to find a k/(k+1)-approximate MVM with a time complexity of O(Dkm). In addition, we design parallel 1/2- and 2/3-approximation algorithms for a shared memory programming model, and introduce a new technique for locking augmenting paths to avoid deadlock and related problems.

MVM problems may be solved using algorithms for the maximum edge-weighted matching (MEM) by assigning to each edge a weight equal to the sum of the vertex weights on its endpoints. However, our results will show that this is one way to generate MEM problems that are difficult to solve. On such problems, exact MEM algorithms may require run times that are a factor of a thousand or more larger than the time of an exact MVM algorithm. Our results show the competitiveness of the new exact algorithms by demonstrating that they outperform MEM exact algorithms. Specifically, our fastest exact algorithm runs faster than the fastest MEM implementation by a factor of 37 and 18 on geometric mean, using two different sets of weights on our test problems. In some instances, the factor can be higher than 500. Moreover, extensive experimental results show that the MVM approximation algorithm outperforms an MEM approximation algorithm with the same approximation ratio, with respect to matching weight and run time. Indeed, our results show that the MVM approximation algorithm outperforms the corresponding MEM algorithm with respect to these metrics in both serial and parallel settings.