Improved Approximation Algorithms for Individually Fair Clustering

Ali Vakilian · Mustafa Yalçıner


Abstract: We consider the $k$-clustering problem with $\ell_p$-norm cost, which includes $k$-median, $k$-means and $k$-center, under an individual notion of fairness proposed by Jung et al. [2020]: given a set of points $P$ of size $n$, a set of $k$ centers induces a fair clustering if every point in $P$ has a center among its $n/k$ closest neighbors. Mahabadi and Vakilian [2020] presented a $( p^{O(p)},7)$-bicriteria approximation for fair clustering with $\ell_p$-norm cost: every point finds a center within distance at most $7$ times its distance to its $(n/k)$-th closest neighbor and the $\ell_p$-norm cost of the solution is at most $p^{O(p)}$ times the cost of an optimal fair solution.In this work, for any $\eps>0$, we present an improved $(16^p +\eps,3)$-bicriteria for this problem. Moreover, for $p=1$ ($k$-median) and $p=\infty$ ($k$-center), we present improved cost-approximation factors $7.081+\eps$ and $3+\eps$ respectively. To achieve our guarantees, we extend the framework of [Charikar et al.,2002, Swamy, 2016] and devise a $16^p$-approximation algorithm for the facility location with $\ell_p$-norm cost under matroid constraint which might be of an independent interest. Besides, our approach suggests a reduction from our individually fair clustering to a clustering with a group fairness requirement proposed by [Kleindessner et al. 2019], which is essentially the median matroid problem.

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