Multistage Problems on a Global Budget

12/09/2019
by   Klaus Heeger, et al.
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Time-evolving or temporal graphs gain more and more popularity when studying the behavior of complex networks. In this context, the multistage view on computational problems is among the most natural frameworks. Roughly speaking, herein one studies the different (time) layers of a temporal graph (effectively meaning that the edge set may change over time, but the vertex set remains unchanged), and one searches for a solution of a given graph problem for each layer. The twist in the multistage setting is that the found solutions may not differ too much between subsequent layers. We relax on this notion by introducing a global instead of the so far local budget view. More specifically, we allow for few disruptive changes between subsequent layers but request that overall, that is, summing over all layers, the degree of change is upper-bounded. Studying several classic graph problems (both NP-hard and polynomial-time solvable ones) from a parameterized angle, we encounter both fixed-parameter tractability and parameterized hardness results. Somewhat surprisingly, we find that sometimes the global multistage versions of NP-hard problems such as Vertex Cover turn out to be computationally easier than the ones of polynomial-time solvable problems such as Matching.

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