Smaller Parameters for Vertex Cover Kernelization

Authors Eva-Maria C. Hols, Stefan Kratsch

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Eva-Maria C. Hols
Stefan Kratsch

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Eva-Maria C. Hols and Stefan Kratsch. Smaller Parameters for Vertex Cover Kernelization. In 12th International Symposium on Parameterized and Exact Computation (IPEC 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 89, pp. 20:1-20:12, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We revisit the topic of polynomial kernels for Vertex Cover relative to structural parameters. Our starting point is a recent paper due to Fomin and Strømme [WG 2016] who gave a kernel with O(|X|^{12}) vertices when X is a vertex set such that each connected component of G-X contains at most one cycle, i.e., X is a modulator to a pseudoforest. We strongly generalize this result by using modulators to d-quasi-forests, i.e., graphs where each connected component has a feedback vertex set of size at most d, and obtain kernels with O(|X|^{3d+9}) vertices. Our result relies on proving that minimal blocking sets in a d-quasi-forest have size at most d+2. This bound is tight and there is a related lower bound of O(|X|^{d+2-epsilon}) on the bit size of kernels. In fact, we also get bounds for minimal blocking sets of more general graph classes: For d-quasi-bipartite graphs, where each connected component can be made bipartite by deleting at most d vertices, we get the same tight bound of d+2 vertices. For graphs whose connected components each have a vertex cover of cost at most d more than the best fractional vertex cover, which we call d-quasi-integral, we show that minimal blocking sets have size at most 2d+2, which is also tight. Combined with existing randomized polynomial kernelizations this leads to randomized polynomial kernelizations for modulators to d-quasi-bipartite and d-quasi-integral graphs. There are lower bounds of O(|X|^{d+2-epsilon}) and O(|X|^{2d+2-epsilon}) for the bit size of such kernels.
  • Vertex Cover
  • Kernelization
  • Structural Parameterization


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