One-way and round-trip center location problems

Arie Tamir, Nir Halman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the classical p-center problem there is a set V of points (customers) in some metric space, and the objective is to locate p centers (servers), minimizing the maximum distance between a customer and his respective nearest server. In this paper we consider an extension, where each customer is associated with a set of existing depots or distribution stations he can use. The service of a customer consists of the travel of a server to some permissible depot, loading of some package (e.g., a spare part) at the depot, and the delivery of the package to the customer. This model is called the customer one-way problem. In the round-trip version of the problem, the service also includes the travel from the customer to the home base of the server. In both problems the customer cost of the service is a linear function of the distance travelled by the server. The objective is to locate p servers, minimizing the maximum customer cost (weighted distance travelled by the respective server). Since the classical p-center problem is NP-hard, so are the one-way and the round-trip models we study. We present efficient constant factor approximation algorithms for these problems on general networks. Turning to special networks, we prove that the one-way problem is strongly NP-hard even on path networks. We then present polynomial time algorithms for the round-trip problem on general tree networks. We also discuss the single center case, and provide polynomial time algorithms for general networks, tree networks and planar Euclidean and rectilinear metric spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-184
Number of pages17
JournalDiscrete Optimization
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Center location problems
  • Facility location
  • Tree networks


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