Almost Tight Approximation Hardness for Single-Source Directed k-Edge-Connectivity

Authors Chao Liao, Qingyun Chen, Bundit Laekhanukit, Yuhao Zhang

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Chao Liao
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
Qingyun Chen
  • University of California, Merced, CA, USA
Bundit Laekhanukit
  • Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China
Yuhao Zhang
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

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Chao Liao, Qingyun Chen, Bundit Laekhanukit, and Yuhao Zhang. Almost Tight Approximation Hardness for Single-Source Directed k-Edge-Connectivity. In 49th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 229, pp. 89:1-89:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


In the k-outconnected directed Steiner tree problem (k-DST), we are given an n-vertex directed graph G = (V,E) with edge costs, a connectivity requirement k, a root r ∈ V and a set of terminals T ⊆ V. The goal is to find a minimum-cost subgraph H ⊆ G that has k edge-disjoint paths from the root vertex r to every terminal t ∈ T. The problem is NP-hard, and inapproximability results are known in several parameters, e.g., hardness in terms of n: log^{2-ε}n-hardness for k = 1 [Halperin and Krauthgamer, STOC'03], 2^{log^{1-ε}n}-hardness for general case [Cheriyan, Laekhanukit, Naves and Vetta, SODA'12], hardness in terms of k [Cheriyan et al., SODA'12; Laekhanukit, SODA'14; Manurangsi, IPL'19] and hardness in terms of |T| [Laekhanukit, SODA'14]. In this paper, we show the approximation hardness of k-DST for various parameters. - Ω(|T|/log |T|)-approximation hardness, which holds under the standard complexity assumption NP≠ ZPP. The inapproximability ratio is tightened to Ω(|T|) under the Strongish Planted Clique Hypothesis [Manurangsi, Rubinstein and Schramm, ITCS 2021]. The latter hardness result matches the approximation ratio of |T| obtained by a trivial approximation algorithm, thus closing the long-standing open problem. - Ω(2^{k/2} / k)-approximation hardness for the general case of k-DST under the assumption NP≠ZPP. This is the first hardness result known for survivable network design problems with an inapproximability ratio exponential in k. - Ω((k/L)^{L/4})-approximation hardness for k-DST on L-layered graphs for L ≤ O(log n). This almost matches the approximation ratio of O(k^{L-1}⋅ L ⋅ log |T|) achieved in O(n^L)-time due to Laekhanukit [ICALP'16]. We further extend our hardness results in terms of |T| to the undirected cases of k-DST, namely the single-source k-vertex-connected Steiner tree and the k-edge-connected group Steiner tree problems. Thus, we obtain Ω(|T|/log |T|) and Ω(|T|) approximation hardness for both problems under the assumption NP≠ ZPP and the Strongish Planted Clique Hypothesis, respectively. This again matches the upper bound obtained by trivial algorithms.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Approximation algorithms
  • Mathematics of computing → Paths and connectivity problems
  • Directed Steiner Tree
  • Hardness of Approximation
  • Fault-Tolerant and Survivable Network Design


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