The maximization problem of the 3-way number partitioning reads as follows: given $n$ positive integers, partition them into 3 subsets such that the smallest sum is as large as possible. It is known to be NP-hard, but does it have an FPTAS?

I found answers for some related problems:

Is there any FPTAS for 3-way number partitioning?


I found an FPTAS for a very similar problem: finding a partition such that the largest sum is as small as possible. This problem is equivalent to the problem of identical-machines scheduling: there are $m$ identical machines (in our case $m=3$), and $n$ jobs with different processing times, and we need to assign jobs to machines such that the latest completion time is as early as possible. In this paper:

Sartaj K. Sahni (1976). Algorithms for Scheduling Independent Tasks. Journal of the ACM. 23 (1): 116–127.

there is an algorithm that attains at most $1+\epsilon$ of the minimum in time $O(n\cdot (n^2 / \epsilon)^{m-1})$, which is an FPTAS for any fixed $m$.

However, this does not answer the original problem, which is to make the smallest sum as large as possible.


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