License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY 3.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.MFCS.2018.35
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-96171
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Hefetz, Dan ; Kupferman, Orna ; Lellouche, Amir ; Vardi, Gal

Spanning-Tree Games

LIPIcs-MFCS-2018-35.pdf (0.7 MB)


We introduce and study a game variant of the classical spanning-tree problem. Our spanning-tree game is played between two players, min and max, who alternate turns in jointly constructing a spanning tree of a given connected weighted graph G. Starting with the empty graph, in each turn a player chooses an edge that does not close a cycle in the forest that has been generated so far and adds it to that forest. The game ends when the chosen edges form a spanning tree in G. The goal of min is to minimize the weight of the resulting spanning tree and the goal of max is to maximize it. A strategy for a player is a function that maps each forest in G to an edge that is not yet in the forest and does not close a cycle. We show that while in the classical setting a greedy approach is optimal, the game setting is more complicated: greedy strategies, namely ones that choose in each turn the lightest (min) or heaviest (max) legal edge, are not necessarily optimal, and calculating their values is NP-hard. We study the approximation ratio of greedy strategies. We show that while a greedy strategy for min guarantees nothing, the performance of a greedy strategy for max is satisfactory: it guarantees that the weight of the generated spanning tree is at least w(MST(G))/2, where w(MST(G)) is the weight of a maximum spanning tree in G, and its approximation ratio with respect to an optimal strategy for max is 1.5+1/w(MST(G)), assuming weights in [0,1]. We also show that these bounds are tight. Moreover, in a stochastic setting, where weights for the complete graph K_n are chosen at random from [0,1], the expected performance of greedy strategies is asymptotically optimal. Finally, we study some variants of the game and study an extension of our results to games on general matroids.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Dan Hefetz and Orna Kupferman and Amir Lellouche and Gal Vardi},
  title =	{{Spanning-Tree Games}},
  booktitle =	{43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations  of Computer Science (MFCS 2018)},
  pages =	{35:1--35:16},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-086-6},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2018},
  volume =	{117},
  editor =	{Igor Potapov and Paul Spirakis and James Worrell},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-96171},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.MFCS.2018.35},
  annote =	{Keywords: Algorithms, Games, Minimum/maximum spanning tree, Greedy algorithms}

Keywords: Algorithms, Games, Minimum/maximum spanning tree, Greedy algorithms
Collection: 43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (MFCS 2018)
Issue Date: 2018
Date of publication: 27.08.2018

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