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List homomorphisms by deleting edges and vertices: tight complexity bounds for bounded-treewidth graphs

by   Barış Can Esmer, et al.

The goal of this paper is to investigate a family of optimization problems arising from list homomorphisms, and to understand what the best possible algorithms are if we restrict the problem to bounded-treewidth graphs. For a fixed H, the input of the optimization problem LHomVD(H) is a graph G with lists L(v), and the task is to find a set X of vertices having minimum size such that (G-X,L) has a list homomorphism to H. We define analogously the edge-deletion variant LHomED(H). This expressive family of problems includes members that are essentially equivalent to fundamental problems such as Vertex Cover, Max Cut, Odd Cycle Transversal, and Edge/Vertex Multiway Cut. For both variants, we first characterize those graphs H that make the problem polynomial-time solvable and show that the problem is NP-hard for every other fixed H. Second, as our main result, we determine for every graph H for which the problem is NP-hard, the smallest possible constant c_H such that the problem can be solved in time c^t_H· n^O(1) if a tree decomposition of G having width t is given in the input, assuming the SETH. Let i(H) be the maximum size of a set of vertices in H that have pairwise incomparable neighborhoods. For the vertex-deletion variant LHomVD(H), we show that the smallest possible constant is i(H)+1 for every H. The situation is more complex for the edge-deletion version. For every H, one can solve LHomED(H) in time i(H)^t· n^O(1) if a tree decomposition of width t is given. However, the existence of a specific type of decomposition of H shows that there are graphs H where LHomED(H) can be solved significantly more efficiently and the best possible constant can be arbitrarily smaller than i(H). Nevertheless, we determine this best possible constant and (assuming the SETH) prove tight bounds for every fixed H.


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