Fair versus unrestricted bin packing

Yossi Azar, Joan Boyar, Leah Epstein, Lene M. Favrholdt, Kim S. Larsen, Morten N. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider the on-line Dual Bin Packing problem where we have n unit size bins and a sequence of items. The goal is to maximize the number of items that are packed in the bins by an on-line algorithm. We investigate unrestricted algorithms that have the power of performing admission control on the items, i.e., rejecting items while there is enough space to pack them, versus fair algorithms that reject an item only when there is not enough space to pack it. We show that by performing admission control on the items, we get better performance compared with the performance achieved on the fair version of the problem. Our main result shows that with an unfair variant of First-Fit, we can pack approximately two-thirds of the items for sequences for which an optimal off-line algorithm can pack all the items. This is in contrast to standard First-Fit where we show an asymptotically tight hardness result: if the number of bins can be chosen arbitrarily large, the fraction of the items packed by First-Fit comes arbitrarily close to five-eighths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-196
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Admission control
  • Bin Packing
  • Competitive analysis
  • Dual Bin Packing
  • On-line algorithms
  • Randomization
  • Restricted adversaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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