Linear Time Algorithms for Multiple Cluster Scheduling and Multiple Strip Packing

Klaus Jansen, Malin Rau

We study the Multiple Cluster Scheduling problem and the Multiple Strip Packing problem. For both problems, there is no algorithm with approximation ratio better than $2$ unless $P = NP$. In this paper, we present an algorithm with approximation ratio $2$ and running time $O(n)$ for both problems. While a $2$ approximation was known before, the running time of the algorithm is at least $\Omega(n^{256})$ in the worst case. Therefore, an $O(n)$ algorithm is surprising and the best possible. We archive this result by calling an AEPTAS with approximation guarantee $(1+\varepsilon)OPT +p_{\max}$ and running time of the form $O(n\log(1/\varepsilon)+ f(1/\varepsilon))$ with a constant $\varepsilon$ to schedule the jobs on a single cluster. This schedule is then distributed on the $N$ clusters in $O(n)$. Moreover, this distribution technique can be applied to any variant of of Multi Cluster Scheduling for which there exists an AEPTAS with additive term $p_{\max}$. While the above result is strong from a theoretical point of view, it might not be very practical due to a large hidden constant caused by calling an AEPTAS with a constant $\varepsilon \geq 1/8$ as subroutine. Nevertheless, we point out that the general approach of finding first a schedule on one cluster and then distributing it onto the other clusters might come in handy in practical approaches. We demonstrate this by presenting a practical algorithm with running time $O(n\log(n))$, with out hidden constants, that is a $9/4$-approximation for one third of all possible instances, i.e, all instances where the number of clusters is dividable by $3$, and has an approximation ratio of at most $2.3$ for all instances with at least $9$ clusters.

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