Kernelizing Temporal Exploration Problems

Authors Emmanuel Arrighi , Fedor V. Fomin , Petr A. Golovach , Petra Wolf

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Emmanuel Arrighi
  • University of Bergen, Norway
  • University of Trier, Germany
Fedor V. Fomin
  • University of Bergen, Norway
Petr A. Golovach
  • University of Bergen, Norway
Petra Wolf
  • University of Bergen, Norway

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Emmanuel Arrighi, Fedor V. Fomin, Petr A. Golovach, and Petra Wolf. Kernelizing Temporal Exploration Problems. In 18th International Symposium on Parameterized and Exact Computation (IPEC 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 285, pp. 1:1-1:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


We study the kernelization of exploration problems on temporal graphs. A temporal graph consists of a finite sequence of snapshot graphs 𝒢 = (G₁, G₂, … , G_L) that share a common vertex set but might have different edge sets. The non-strict temporal exploration problem (NS-TEXP for short) introduced by Erlebach and Spooner, asks if a single agent can visit all vertices of a given temporal graph where the edges traversed by the agent are present in non-strict monotonous time steps, i.e., the agent can move along the edges of a snapshot graph with infinite speed. The exploration must at the latest be completed in the last snapshot graph. The optimization variant of this problem is the k-arb NS-TEXP problem, where the agent’s task is to visit at least k vertices of the temporal graph. We show that under standard computational complexity assumptions, neither of the problems NS-TEXP nor k-arb NS-TEXP allow for polynomial kernels in the standard parameters: number of vertices n, lifetime L, number of vertices to visit k, and maximal number of connected components per time step γ; as well as in the combined parameters L+k, L + γ, and k+γ. On the way to establishing these lower bounds, we answer a couple of questions left open by Erlebach and Spooner. We also initiate the study of structural kernelization by identifying a new parameter of a temporal graph p(𝒢) = ∑_{i=1}^L (|E(G_i)|) - |V(G)| + 1. Informally, this parameter measures how dynamic the temporal graph is. Our main algorithmic result is the construction of a polynomial (in p(𝒢)) kernel for the more general Weighted k-arb NS-TEXP problem, where weights are assigned to the vertices and the task is to find a temporal walk of weight at least k.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Parameterized complexity and exact algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Problems, reductions and completeness
  • Temporal graph
  • temporal exploration
  • computational complexity
  • kernel


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