On Estimation Algorithms vs Approximation Algorithms

Uriel Feige
In a combinatorial optimization problem, when given an input instance, one seeks a feasible solution that optimizes the value of the objective function. Many combinatorial optimization problems are NP-hard. A way of coping with NP-hardness is by considering approximation algorithms. These algorithms run in polynomial time, and their performance is measured by their approximation ratio: the worst case ratio between the value of the solution produced and the value of the (unknown) optimal solution. In...