FPT Approximations for Packing and Covering Problems Parameterized by Elimination Distance and Even Less

Authors Tanmay Inamdar , Lawqueen Kanesh, Madhumita Kundu , M. S. Ramanujan , Saket Saurabh

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Tanmay Inamdar
  • University of Bergen, Norway
Lawqueen Kanesh
  • Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, India
Madhumita Kundu
  • University of Bergen, Norway
M. S. Ramanujan
  • University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
Saket Saurabh
  • Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India
  • University of Bergen, Norway

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Tanmay Inamdar, Lawqueen Kanesh, Madhumita Kundu, M. S. Ramanujan, and Saket Saurabh. FPT Approximations for Packing and Covering Problems Parameterized by Elimination Distance and Even Less. In 43rd IARCS Annual Conference on Foundations of Software Technology and Theoretical Computer Science (FSTTCS 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 284, pp. 28:1-28:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


For numerous graph problems in the realm of parameterized algorithms, using the size of a smallest deletion set (called a modulator) into well-understood graph families as parameterization has led to a long and successful line of research. Recently, however, there has been an extensive study of structural parameters that are potentially much smaller than the modulator size. In particular, recent papers [Jansen et al. STOC 2021; Agrawal et al. SODA 2022] have studied parameterization by the size of the modulator to a graph family ℋ(mod_ℋ(⋅)), elimination distance to ℋ(ed_ℋ(⋅)), and ℋ-treewidth (tw_ℋ(⋅)). These parameters are related by the fact that tw_ℋ lower bounds ed_ℋ, which in turn lower bounds mod_ℋ. While these new parameters have been successfully exploited to design fast exact algorithms their utility (especially that of ed_ℋ and tw_ℋ) in the context of approximation algorithms is mostly unexplored. The conceptual contribution of this paper is to present novel algorithmic meta-theorems that expand the impact of these structural parameters to the area of FPT Approximation, mirroring their utility in the design of exact FPT algorithms. Precisely, we show that if a covering or packing problem is definable in Monadic Second Order Logic and has a property called Finite Integer Index (FII), then the existence of an FPT Approximation Scheme (FPT-AS, i.e., (1±ε)-approximation) parameterized by mod_ℋ(⋅), ed_ℋ(⋅), and tw_ℋ(⋅) is in fact equivalent. As a consequence, we obtain FPT-ASes for a wide range of covering, packing, and domination problems on graphs with respect to these parameters. In the process, we show that several graph problems, that are W[1]-hard parameterized by mod_ℋ, admit FPT-ASes not only when parameterized by mod_ℋ, but even when parameterized by the potentially much smaller parameter tw_ℋ(⋅). In the spirit of [Agrawal et al. SODA 2022], our algorithmic results highlight a broader connection between these parameters in the world of approximation. As concrete exemplifications of our meta-theorems, we obtain FPT-ASes for well-studied graph problems such as Vertex Cover, Feedback Vertex Set, Cycle Packing and Dominating Set, parameterized by tw_ℋ(⋅) (and hence, also by mod_ℋ(⋅) or ed_ℋ(⋅)), where ℋ is any family of minor free graphs.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Parameterized complexity and exact algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Approximation algorithms analysis
  • FPT-AS
  • F-Deletion
  • Packing
  • Elimination Distance
  • Elimination Treewidth


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