Stronger ILPs for the Graph Genus Problem

Authors Markus Chimani , Tilo Wiedera

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Markus Chimani
  • Theoretical Computer Science, Osnabrück University, Germany
Tilo Wiedera
  • Theoretical Computer Science, Osnabrück University, Germany

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Markus Chimani and Tilo Wiedera. Stronger ILPs for the Graph Genus Problem. In 27th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 144, pp. 30:1-30:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


The minimum genus of a graph is an important question in graph theory and a key ingredient in several graph algorithms. However, its computation is NP-hard and turns out to be hard even in practice. Only recently, the first non-trivial approach - based on SAT and ILP (integer linear programming) models - has been presented, but it is unable to successfully tackle graphs of genus larger than 1 in practice. Herein, we show how to improve the ILP formulation. The crucial ingredients are two-fold. First, we show that instead of modeling rotation schemes explicitly, it suffices to optimize over partitions of the (bidirected) arc set A of the graph. Second, we exploit the cycle structure of the graph, explicitly mapping short closed walks on A to faces in the embedding. Besides the theoretical advantages of our models, we show their practical strength by a thorough experimental evaluation. Contrary to the previous approach, we are able to quickly solve many instances of genus > 1.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Graphs and surfaces
  • Mathematics of computing → Graph algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Linear programming
  • algorithm engineering
  • genus
  • integer linear programming


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