### Abstract

In the highway problem, we are given a path, and a set of buyers interested in buying sub-paths of this path; each buyer declares a non-negative budget, which is the maximum amount of money she is willing to pay for that sub-path. The problem is to assign non-negative prices to the edges of the path such that we maximize the profit obtained by selling the edges to the buyers who can afford to buy their sub-paths, where a buyer can afford to buy her sub-path if the sum of prices in the sub-path is at most her budget. In this paper, we show that the highway problem is strongly NP-hard; this settles the complexity of the problem in view of the existence of a polynomial-time approximation scheme, as was recently shown in Grandoni and Rothvoß (2011) [15]. We also consider the coupon model, where we allow some items to be priced below zero to improve the overall profit. We show that allowing negative prices makes the problem APX-hard. As a corollary, we show that the bipartite vertex pricing problem is APX-hard with budgets in 1,2,3, both in the cases with negative and non-negative prices.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 70-77 |

Number of pages | 8 |

Journal | Theoretical Computer Science |

Volume | 460 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Nov 16 2012 |

### Keywords

- Approximation algorithms
- Complexity
- Hardness of approximation
- Interval graphs
- NP-hardness
- Pricing

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Theoretical Computer Science
- Computer Science(all)

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## Cite this

*Theoretical Computer Science*,

*460*, 70-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcs.2012.07.028