On the Space Usage of Approximate Distance Oracles with Sub-2 Stretch

Authors Tsvi Kopelowitz , Ariel Korin , Liam Roditty

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Tsvi Kopelowitz
  • Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Ariel Korin
  • Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Liam Roditty
  • Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

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Tsvi Kopelowitz, Ariel Korin, and Liam Roditty. On the Space Usage of Approximate Distance Oracles with Sub-2 Stretch. In 51st International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 297, pp. 101:1-101:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)


For an undirected unweighted graph G = (V,E) with n vertices and m edges, let d(u,v) denote the distance from u ∈ V to v ∈ V in G. An (α,β)-stretch approximate distance oracle (ADO) for G is a data structure that given u,v ∈ V returns in constant (or near constant) time a value dˆ(u,v) such that d(u,v) ≤ dˆ(u,v) ≤ α⋅ d(u,v) + β, for some reals α > 1, β. Thorup and Zwick [Mikkel Thorup and Uri Zwick, 2005] showed that one cannot beat stretch 3 with subquadratic space (in terms of n) for general graphs. Pǎtraşcu and Roditty [Mihai Pǎtraşcu and Liam Roditty, 2010] showed that one can obtain stretch 2 using O(m^{1/3}n^{4/3}) space, and so if m is subquadratic in n then the space usage is also subquadratic. Moreover, Pǎtraşcu and Roditty [Mihai Pǎtraşcu and Liam Roditty, 2010] showed that one cannot beat stretch 2 with subquadratic space even for graphs where m = Õ(n), based on the set-intersection hypothesis. In this paper we explore the conditions for which an ADO can beat stretch 2 while using subquadratic space. In particular, we show that if the maximum degree in G is Δ_G ≤ O(n^{1/k-ε}) for some 0 < ε ≤ 1/k, then there exists an ADO for G that uses Õ(n^{2-(kε)/3) space and has a (2,1-k)-stretch. For k = 2 this result implies a subquadratic sub-2 stretch ADO for graphs with Δ_G ≤ O(n^{1/2-ε}). Moreover, we prove a conditional lower bound, based on the set intersection hypothesis, which states that for any positive integer k ≤ log n, obtaining a sub-(k+2)/k stretch for graphs with Δ_G = Θ(n^{1/k}) requires Ω̃(n²) space. Thus, for graphs with maximum degree Θ(n^{1/2}), obtaining a sub-2 stretch requires Ω̃(n²) space.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Graph algorithms analysis
  • Graph algorithms
  • Approximate distance oracle
  • data structures
  • shortest path


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