An average-case analysis of bin packing with uniformly distributed item sizes


We analyze the one-dimensional bin-packing problem under the assumption that bins have unit capacity, and that items to be packed are drawn from a uniform distribution on [0,1]. Building on some recent work by Frederickson, we give an algorithm which uses n/2+0(n^½) bins on the average to pack n items. (Knodel has achieved a similar result.) The analysis involves the use of a certain 1-dimensional random walk. We then show that even an optimum packing under this distribution uses n/2+0(n^1/2) bins on the average, so our algorithm is asymptotically optimal, up to constant factors on the amount of wasted space. Finally, following Frederickson, we show that two well-known greedy bin-packing algorithms use no more bins than our algorithm; thus their behavior is also in asymptotically optimal in this sense

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