License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
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DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2020.14
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-128803
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Belmonte, Rémy ; Kim, Eun Jung ; Lampis, Michael ; Mitsou, Valia ; Otachi, Yota

Grundy Distinguishes Treewidth from Pathwidth

LIPIcs-ESA-2020-14.pdf (0.6 MB)


Structural graph parameters, such as treewidth, pathwidth, and clique-width, are a central topic of study in parameterized complexity. A main aim of research in this area is to understand the "price of generality" of these widths: as we transition from more restrictive to more general notions, which are the problems that see their complexity status deteriorate from fixed-parameter tractable to intractable? This type of question is by now very well-studied, but, somewhat strikingly, the algorithmic frontier between the two (arguably) most central width notions, treewidth and pathwidth, is still not understood: currently, no natural graph problem is known to be W-hard for one but FPT for the other. Indeed, a surprising development of the last few years has been the observation that for many of the most paradigmatic problems, their complexities for the two parameters actually coincide exactly, despite the fact that treewidth is a much more general parameter. It would thus appear that the extra generality of treewidth over pathwidth often comes "for free".
Our main contribution in this paper is to uncover the first natural example where this generality comes with a high price. We consider Grundy Coloring, a variation of coloring where one seeks to calculate the worst possible coloring that could be assigned to a graph by a greedy First-Fit algorithm. We show that this well-studied problem is FPT parameterized by pathwidth; however, it becomes significantly harder (W[1]-hard) when parameterized by treewidth. Furthermore, we show that Grundy Coloring makes a second complexity jump for more general widths, as it becomes para-NP-hard for clique-width. Hence, Grundy Coloring nicely captures the complexity trade-offs between the three most well-studied parameters. Completing the picture, we show that Grundy Coloring is FPT parameterized by modular-width.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{R{\'e}my Belmonte and Eun Jung Kim and Michael Lampis and Valia Mitsou and Yota Otachi},
  title =	{{Grundy Distinguishes Treewidth from Pathwidth}},
  booktitle =	{28th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2020)},
  pages =	{14:1--14:19},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-162-7},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2020},
  volume =	{173},
  editor =	{Fabrizio Grandoni and Grzegorz Herman and Peter Sanders},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-128803},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2020.14},
  annote =	{Keywords: Treewidth, Pathwidth, Clique-width, Grundy Coloring}

Keywords: Treewidth, Pathwidth, Clique-width, Grundy Coloring
Collection: 28th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2020)
Issue Date: 2020
Date of publication: 26.08.2020

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