Sparsifying, Shrinking and Splicing for Minimum Path Cover in Parameterized Linear Time

Splicing along a decrementing path


A minimum path cover (MPC) of a directed acyclic graph (DAG) $G = (V,E)$ is a minimum-size set of paths that together cover all the vertices of the DAG. Computing an MPC is a basic polynomial problem, dating back to Dilworth’s and Fulkerson’s results in the 1950s. Since the size $k$ of an MPC (also known as the width) can be small in practical applications, research has also studied algorithms whose complexity is parameterized on $k$. We obtain two new MPC parameterized algorithms for DAGs running in time $O(k^2|V|\log(|V|) + |E|)$ and $O(k^3|V| + |E|)$. We also obtain a parallel algorithm running in $O(k^2|V| + |E|)$ parallel steps and using $O(\log(|V|))$ processors (in the PRAM model). Our latter two algorithms are the first solving the problem in parameterized linear time. Finally, we present an algorithm running in time $O(k^2|V|)$ for transforming any MPC to another MPC using less than $2|V|$ distinct edges, which we prove to be asymptotically tight. As such, we also obtain edge sparsification algorithms preserving the width of the DAG with the same running time as our MPC algorithms. At the core of all our algorithms we interleave the usage of three techniques: transitive sparsification, shrinking of a path cover, and the splicing of a set of paths along a given path.

In SODA 2022
Manuel Cáceres
Manuel Cáceres
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include algorithmic bioinformatics, graph algorithms, string algorithms, algorithmic bioinformatics, compressed data structures, safe & complete algorithms and parameterized algorithms.