Kernelizing Temporal Exploration Problems

02/20/2023
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by   Emmanuel Arrighi, et al.
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We study the kernelization of exploration problems on temporal graphs. A temporal graph consists of a finite sequence of snapshot graphs 𝒒=(G_1, G_2, …, G_L) that share a common vertex set but might have different edge sets. The non-strict temporal exploration problem (NS-TEXP for short) introduced by Erlebach and Spooner, asks if a single agent can visit all vertices of a given temporal graph where the edges traversed by the agent are present in non-strict monotonous time steps, i.e., the agent can move along the edges of a snapshot graph with infinite speed. The exploration must at the latest be completed in the last snapshot graph. The optimization variant of this problem is the k-arb NS-TEXP problem, where the agent's task is to visit at least k vertices of the temporal graph. We show that under standard computational complexity assumptions, neither of the problems NS-TEXP nor k-arb NS-TEXP allow for polynomial kernels in the standard parameters: number of vertices n, lifetime L, number of vertices to visit k, and maximal number of connected components per time step Ξ³; as well as in the combined parameters L+k, L + Ξ³, and k+Ξ³. On the way to establishing these lower bounds, we answer a couple of questions left open by Erlebach and Spooner. We also initiate the study of structural kernelization by identifying a new parameter of a temporal graph p(𝒒) = βˆ‘_i=1^L (|E(G_i)|) - |V(G)| +1. Informally, this parameter measures how dynamic the temporal graph is. Our main algorithmic result is the construction of a polynomial (in p(𝒒)) kernel for the more general Weighted k-arb NS-TEXP problem, where weights are assigned to the vertices and the task is to find a temporal walk of weight at least k.

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