Adversarially Robust Coloring for Graph Streams

Authors Amit Chakrabarti , Prantar Ghosh, Manuel Stoeckl

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Author Details

Amit Chakrabarti
  • Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
Prantar Ghosh
  • Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
Manuel Stoeckl
  • Department of Computer Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA


Prantar Ghosh would like to thank Sayan Bhattacharya for a helpful conversation regarding this work.

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Amit Chakrabarti, Prantar Ghosh, and Manuel Stoeckl. Adversarially Robust Coloring for Graph Streams. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 37:1-37:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


A streaming algorithm is considered to be adversarially robust if it provides correct outputs with high probability even when the stream updates are chosen by an adversary who may observe and react to the past outputs of the algorithm. We grow the burgeoning body of work on such algorithms in a new direction by studying robust algorithms for the problem of maintaining a valid vertex coloring of an n-vertex graph given as a stream of edges. Following standard practice, we focus on graphs with maximum degree at most Δ and aim for colorings using a small number f(Δ) of colors. A recent breakthrough (Assadi, Chen, and Khanna; SODA 2019) shows that in the standard, non-robust, streaming setting, (Δ+1)-colorings can be obtained while using only Õ(n) space. Here, we prove that an adversarially robust algorithm running under a similar space bound must spend almost Ω(Δ²) colors and that robust O(Δ)-coloring requires a linear amount of space, namely Ω(nΔ). We in fact obtain a more general lower bound, trading off the space usage against the number of colors used. From a complexity-theoretic standpoint, these lower bounds provide (i) the first significant separation between adversarially robust algorithms and ordinary randomized algorithms for a natural problem on insertion-only streams and (ii) the first significant separation between randomized and deterministic coloring algorithms for graph streams, since deterministic streaming algorithms are automatically robust. We complement our lower bounds with a suite of positive results, giving adversarially robust coloring algorithms using sublinear space. In particular, we can maintain an O(Δ²)-coloring using Õ(n √Δ) space and an O(Δ³)-coloring using Õ(n) space.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Streaming, sublinear and near linear time algorithms
  • Data streaming
  • graph algorithms
  • graph coloring
  • lower bounds
  • online algorithms


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