We introduce flow metrics as a relaxation of path metrics (i.e. linear orderings). They are defined by polynomial-sized linear programs and have interesting properties including spreading. We use them to obtain relaxations for several NP-hard linear ordering problems such as minimum linear arrangement and minimum pathwidth. Our approach has the advantage of achieving the best-known approximation guarantees for these problems using the same relaxation and essentially the same rounding algorithm for all the problems while varying only the objective function from problem to problem. This is in contrast to the current state of the literature where each problem either has a new relaxation or a new rounding or both. We also characterize a natural projection of the flow polyhedron. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Bornstein, C. F., & Vempala, S. (2004). Flow metrics. In Theoretical Computer Science (Vol. 321, pp. 13–24). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcs.2003.05.003