# Distributed Reconfiguration of Maximal Independent Sets

Consider the following problem: given a graph and two maximal independent sets (MIS), is there a valid sequence of independent sets starting from the first one and ending in the second, in which a single node is inserted to or removed from the set at each step? While this would be trivial without any restrictions by simply removing all the nodes and then inserting the required ones, this problem, called the MIS reconfiguration problem, has been studied in the centralized setting with the caveat that intermediate sets in the sequence (schedule) must be at least of a certain size. In this paper, we investigate a distributed MIS reconfiguration problem, in which nodes can be inserted or removed from the sets concurrently. Each node of the graph is aware of its membership in the initial and final independent sets, and the nodes communicate with their neighbors in order to produce a reconfiguration schedule. The schedule is restricted by forbidding two neighbors to change their membership status at the same step. Here, we do not impose a lower bound on the size of the intermediate independent sets, as this would be hard to coordinate in a non-centralized fashion. However, we do want the independent sets to be non-trivial. We show that obtaining an actual MIS (and even a 3-dominating set) in each intermediate step is impossible. However, we provide efficient solutions when the intermediate sets are only required to be independent and 4-dominating. We prove that a constant length schedule can be found in O(MIS+R32) rounds, where MIS is the complexity of finding an MIS on a worst-case graph and R32 is the complexity of finding a (3,2)-ruling set. For bounded degree graphs, this is O(^*n) rounds and we show that it is necessary. On the other extreme, we show that with a constant number of rounds we can find a linear length schedule.

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