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On the maximum cardinality search lower bound for treewidth. (English) Zbl 1119.05101
Summary: The maximum cardinality search (MCS) algorithm visits the vertices of a graph in some order, such that at each step, an unvisited vertex that has the largest number of visited neighbours becomes visited. A maximum cardinality search ordering (MCS-ordering) of a graph is an ordering of the vertices that can be generated by the MCS algorithm. The visited degree of a vertex \(v\) in an MCS-ordering is the number of neighbours of \(v\) that are before \(v\) in the ordering. The visited degree of an MCS-ordering \(\psi\) of \(G\) is the maximum visited degree over all vertices \(v\) in \(\psi\). The maximum visited degree over all MCS-orderings of graph \(G\) is called its maximum visited degree. B. Lucena [SIAM J. Discrete Math. 16, 345–353 (2003; Zbl 1041.68071)] showed that the treewidth of a graph \(G\) is at least its maximum visited degree.
We show that the maximum visited degree is of size \(O(\log n)\) for planar graphs, and give examples of planar graphs \(G\) with maximum visited degree \(k\) with \(O(k!)\) vertices, for all \(k \in \mathbb N\). Given a graph \(G\), it is NP-complete to determine if its maximum visited degree is at least \(k\), for any fixed \(k\geqslant 7\). Also, this problem does not have a polynomial time approximation algorithm with constant ratio, unless P = NP. Variants of the problem are also shown to be NP-complete.
In this paper, we also propose some heuristics for the problem, and report on an experimental analysis of them. Several tiebreakers for the MCS algorithm are proposed and evaluated. We also give heuristics that give upper bounds on the value of the maximum visited degree of a graph, which appear to give results close to optimal on many graphs from real life applications.

MSC:
05C85 Graph algorithms (graph-theoretic aspects)
68Q25 Analysis of algorithms and problem complexity
68R10 Graph theory (including graph drawing) in computer science
Software:
Treewidthlib
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