New Constructions for Competitive and Minimal-Adaptive Group Testing
Doktorsavhandling, 2013

Group testing (GT) was originally proposed during the World War II in an attempt to minimize the \emph{cost} and \emph{waiting time} in performing identical blood tests of the soldiers for a low-prevalence disease. Formally, the GT problem asks to find $d\ll n$ \emph{defective} elements out of $n$ elements by querying subsets (pools) for the presence of defectives. By the information-theoretic lower bound, essentially $d\log_2 n$ queries are needed in the worst-case. An \emph{adaptive} strategy proceeds sequentially by performing one query at a time, and it can achieve the lower bound. In various applications, nothing is known about $d$ beforehand and a strategy for this scenario is called \emph{competitive}. Such strategies are usually adaptive and achieve query optimality within a constant factor called the \emph{competitive ratio}. In many applications, queries are time-consuming. Therefore, \emph{minimal-adaptive} strategies which run in a small number $s$ of stages of parallel queries are favorable. This work is mainly devoted to the design of minimal-adaptive strategies combined with other demands of both theoretical and practical interest. First we target unknown $d$ and show that actually competitive GT is possible in as few as $2$ stages only. The main ingredient is our randomized estimate of a previously unknown $d$ using nonadaptive queries. In addition, we have developed a systematic approach to obtain optimal competitive ratios for our strategies. When $d$ is a known upper bound, we propose randomized GT strategies which asymptotically achieve query optimality in just $2$, $3$ or $4$ stages depending upon the growth of $d$ versus $n$. Inspired by application settings, such as at American Red Cross, where in most cases GT is applied to small instances, \textit{e.g.}, $n=16$. We extended our study of query-optimal GT strategies to solve a given problem instance with fixed values $n$, $d$ and $s$. We also considered the situation when elements to test cannot be divided physically (electronic devices), thus the pools must be disjoint. For GT with \emph{disjoint} simultaneous pools, we show that $\Theta (sd(n/d)^{1/s})$ tests are sufficient, and also necessary for certain ranges of the parameters.

strict group testing

disjoint pools


competitive group testing

minimal-adaptive group testing

exact bounds

competitive ratio

Room EF, EDIT building, Chalmers.
Opponent: Prof. Dr. Ingo Althöfer


Muhammad Azam Sheikh

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Datavetenskap

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Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 3594

Technical report D - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University: 98D

Room EF, EDIT building, Chalmers.

Opponent: Prof. Dr. Ingo Althöfer