Constrained Level Planarity Is FPT with Respect to the Vertex Cover Number

Authors Boris Klemz , Marie Diana Sieper

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Boris Klemz
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany
Marie Diana Sieper
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany

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Boris Klemz and Marie Diana Sieper. Constrained Level Planarity Is FPT with Respect to the Vertex Cover Number. In 51st International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 297, pp. 99:1-99:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)


The problem Level Planarity asks for a crossing-free drawing of a graph in the plane such that vertices are placed at prescribed y-coordinates (called levels) and such that every edge is realized as a y-monotone curve. In the variant Constrained Level Planarity, each level y is equipped with a partial order ≺_y on its vertices and in the desired drawing the left-to-right order of vertices on level y has to be a linear extension of ≺_y. Constrained Level Planarity is known to be a remarkably difficult problem: previous results by Klemz and Rote [ACM Trans. Alg.'19] and by Brückner and Rutter [SODA'17] imply that it remains NP-hard even when restricted to graphs whose tree-depth and feedback vertex set number are bounded by a constant and even when the instances are additionally required to be either proper, meaning that each edge spans two consecutive levels, or ordered, meaning that all given partial orders are total orders. In particular, these results rule out the existence of FPT-time (even XP-time) algorithms with respect to these and related graph parameters (unless P=NP). However, the parameterized complexity of Constrained Level Planarity with respect to the vertex cover number of the input graph remained open. In this paper, we show that Constrained Level Planarity can be solved in FPT-time when parameterized by the vertex cover number. In view of the previous intractability statements, our result is best-possible in several regards: a speed-up to polynomial time or a generalization to the aforementioned smaller graph parameters is not possible, even if restricting to proper or ordered instances.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Fixed parameter tractability
  • Human-centered computing → Graph drawings
  • Mathematics of computing → Graphs and surfaces
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Mathematics of computing → Paths and connectivity problems
  • Parameterized Complexity
  • Graph Drawing
  • Planar Poset Diagram
  • Level Planarity
  • Constrained Level Planarity
  • Vertex Cover
  • FPT
  • Computational Geometry


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