How to whack moles

S. Gutierrez, S.O. Krumke, N. Megow*, T. Vredeveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the classical whack-a-mole game moles that pop up at certain locations must be whacked by means of a hammer before they go under ground again. The goal is to maximize the number of moles whacked. This problem can be formulated as an online optimization problem: requests (moles) appear over time at points in a metric space and must be served (whacked) by a server (hammer) before their deadlines (i.e., before they disappear). An online algorithm learns each request only at its release time and must base its decisions on incomplete information. We study the online whack-a-mole problem (wham) on the real line and on the uniform metric space. While on the line no deterministic algorithm can achieve a constant competitive ratio, we provide competitive algorithms for the uniform metric space. Our online investigations are complemented by complexity results for the offline problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-341
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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