Counting weighted independent sets beyond the permanent

09/08/2019 ∙ by Martin Dyer, et al. ∙ 0

In a landmark paper, Jerrum, Sinclair and Vigoda (2004) showed that the permanent of any square matrix can be estimated in polynomial time. This computation can be viewed as approximating the partition function of edge-weighted matchings in a bipartite graph. Equivalently, this may be viewed as approximating the partition function of vertex-weighted independent sets in the line graph of a bipartite graph. Line graphs of bipartite graphs are perfect graphs, and are known to be precisely the class of (claw, diamond, odd hole)-free graphs. So how far does the result of Jerrum, Sinclair and Vigoda extend? We first show that it extends to (claw, odd hole)-free graphs, and then show that it extends to the even larger class of (fork, odd hole)-free graphs. Our techniques are based on graph decompositions, which have been the focus of much recent work in structural graph theory, and on structural results of Chvátal and Sbihi (1988), Maffray and Reed (1999) and Lozin and Milanič (2008).

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