Extension of vertex cover and independent set in some classes of graphs and generalizations

10/10/2018 ∙ by Katrin Casel, et al. ∙ 0

We consider extension variants of the classical graph problems Vertex Cover and Independent Set. Given a graph G=(V,E) and a vertex set U ⊆ V, it is asked if there exists a minimal vertex cover (resp. maximal independent set) S with U⊆ S (resp. U ⊇ S). Possibly contradicting intuition, these problems tend to be NP-hard, even in graph classes where the classical problem can be solved in polynomial time. Yet, we exhibit some graph classes where the extension variant remains polynomial-time solvable. We also study the parameterized complexity of these problems, with parameter |U|, as well as the optimality of simple exact algorithms under the Exponential-Time Hypothesis. All these complexity considerations are also carried out in very restricted scenarios, be it degree or topological restrictions (bipartite, planar or chordal graphs). This also motivates presenting some explicit branching algorithms for degree-bounded instances. We further discuss the price of extension, measuring the distance of U to the closest set that can be extended, which results in natural optimization problems related to extension problems for which we discuss polynomial-time approximability.



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