Asymptotic Worst-Case Analyses for the Open Bin Packing Problem


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Virginia Tech


The open bin packing problem (OBPP) is a new variant of the well-known bin packing problem. In the OBPP, items are packed into bins so that the total content before the last item in each bin is strictly less than the bin capacity. The objective is to minimize the number of bins used. The applications of the OBPP can be found in the subway station systems in Hong Kong and Taipei and the scheduling in manufacturing industries. We show that the OBPP is NP-hard and propose two heuristic algorithms instead of solving the problem to optimality. We propose two offline algorithms in which the information of the items is known in advance. First, we consider the First Fit Decreasing (FFD) which is a good approximation algorithm for the bin packing problem. We prove that its asymptotic worst-case performance ratio is no more than 3/2. We observe that its performance for the OBPP is worse than that of the BPP. Consequently, we modify it by adding the algorithm that the set of largest items is the set of last items in each bin. Then, we propose the Modified First Fit Decreasing (MFFD) as an alternative and prove that its asymptotic worst-case performance ratio is no more than 91/80. We conduct empirical tests to show their average-case performance. The results show that in general, the FFD and MFFD algorithms use no more than 33% and 1% of the number of bins than that of optimal packing, respectively. In addition, the MFFD is asymptotically optimal when the sizes of items are (0,1) uniformly distributed.



Asymptotic Worst-Case Performance Ratio, Off-Line Algorithms, Bin Packing