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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 274, 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)

The k-Detour problem is a basic path-finding problem: given a graph G on n vertices, with specified nodes s and t, and a positive integer k, the goal is to determine if G has an st-path of length exactly dist(s,t) + k, where dist(s,t) is the length of a shortest path from s to t. The k-Detour problem is NP-hard when k is part of the input, so researchers have sought efficient parameterized algorithms for this task, running in f(k)poly(n) time, for f(⋅) as slow-growing as possible.
We present faster algorithms for k-Detour in undirected graphs, running in 1.853^k poly(n) randomized and 4.082^kpoly(n) deterministic time. The previous fastest algorithms for this problem took 2.746^k poly(n) randomized and 6.523^k poly(n) deterministic time [Bezáková-Curticapean-Dell-Fomin, ICALP 2017]. Our algorithms use the fact that detecting a path of a given length in an undirected graph is easier if we are promised that the path belongs to what we call a "bipartitioned" subgraph, where the nodes are split into two parts and the path must satisfy constraints on those parts. Previously, this idea was used to obtain the fastest known algorithm for finding paths of length k in undirected graphs [Björklund-Husfeldt-Kaski-Koivisto, JCSS 2017], intuitively by looking for paths of length k in randomly bipartitioned subgraphs. Our algorithms for k-Detour stem from a new application of this idea, which does not involve choosing the bipartitioned subgraphs randomly.
Our work has direct implications for the k-Longest Detour problem, another related path-finding problem. In this problem, we are given the same input as in k-Detour, but are now tasked with determining if G has an st-path of length at least dist(s,t)+k. Our results for k-Detour imply that we can solve k-Longest Detour in 3.432^k poly(n) randomized and 16.661^k poly(n) deterministic time. The previous fastest algorithms for this problem took 7.539^k poly(n) randomized and 42.549^k poly(n) deterministic time [Fomin et al., STACS 2022].

Shyan Akmal, Virginia Vassilevska Williams, Ryan Williams, and Zixuan Xu. Faster Detours in Undirected Graphs. In 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 274, pp. 7:1-7:17, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2023.7, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Vassilevska Williams, Virginia and Williams, Ryan and Xu, Zixuan}, title = {{Faster Detours in Undirected Graphs}}, booktitle = {31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)}, pages = {7:1--7:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-295-2}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {274}, editor = {G{\o}rtz, Inge Li and Farach-Colton, Martin and Puglisi, Simon J. and Herman, Grzegorz}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.7}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-186601}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.7}, annote = {Keywords: path finding, detours, parameterized complexity, exact algorithms} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 274, 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)

Amiri and Wargalla proved the following local-to-global theorem about shortest paths in directed acyclic graphs (DAGs): if G is a weighted DAG with the property that for each subset S of 3 nodes there is a shortest path containing every node in S, then there exists a pair (s,t) of nodes such that there is a shortest st-path containing every node in G. We extend this theorem to general graphs. For undirected graphs, we prove that the same theorem holds (up to a difference in the constant 3). For directed graphs, we provide a counterexample to the theorem (for any constant). However, we prove a roundtrip analogue of the theorem which guarantees there exists a pair (s,t) of nodes such that every node in G is contained in the union of a shortest st-path and a shortest ts-path.
The original local-to-global theorem for DAGs has an application to the k-Shortest Paths with Congestion c ((k,c)-SPC) problem. In this problem, we are given a weighted graph G, together with k node pairs (s_1,t_1),… ,(s_k,t_k), and a positive integer c ≤ k, and tasked with finding a collection of paths P_1,… , P_k such that each P_i is a shortest path from s_i to t_i, and every node in the graph is on at most c paths P_i, or reporting that no such collection of paths exists. When c = k, there are no congestion constraints, and the problem can be solved easily by running a shortest path algorithm for each pair (s_i,t_i) independently. At the other extreme, when c = 1, the (k,c)-SPC problem is equivalent to the k-Disjoint Shortest Paths (k-DSP) problem, where the collection of shortest paths must be node-disjoint. For fixed k, k-DSP is polynomial-time solvable on DAGs and undirected graphs. Amiri and Wargalla interpolated between these two extreme values of c, to obtain an algorithm for (k,c)-SPC on DAGs that runs in polynomial time when k-c is constant.
In the same way, we prove that (k,c)-SPC can be solved in polynomial time on undirected graphs whenever k-c is constant. For directed graphs, because of our counterexample to the original theorem statement, our roundtrip local-to-global result does not imply such an algorithm (k,c)-SPC. Even without an algorithmic application, our proof for directed graphs may be of broader interest because it characterizes intriguing structural properties of shortest paths in directed graphs.

Shyan Akmal and Nicole Wein. A Local-To-Global Theorem for Congested Shortest Paths. In 31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 274, pp. 8:1-8:17, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2023.8, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Wein, Nicole}, title = {{A Local-To-Global Theorem for Congested Shortest Paths}}, booktitle = {31st Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2023)}, pages = {8:1--8:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-295-2}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {274}, editor = {G{\o}rtz, Inge Li and Farach-Colton, Martin and Puglisi, Simon J. and Herman, Grzegorz}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.8}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-186618}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2023.8}, annote = {Keywords: disjoint paths, shortest paths, congestion, parameterized complexity} }

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Track A: Algorithms, Complexity and Games

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 261, 50th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2023)

Our work concerns algorithms for a variant of Maximum Flow in unweighted graphs. In the All-Pairs Connectivity (APC) problem, we are given a graph G on n vertices and m edges, and are tasked with computing the maximum number of edge-disjoint paths from s to t (equivalently, the size of a minimum (s,t)-cut) in G, for all pairs of vertices (s,t). Over undirected graphs, it is known that APC can be solved in essentially optimal n^{2+o(1)} time. In contrast, the true time complexity of APC over directed graphs remains open: this problem can be solved in Õ(m^ω) time, where ω ∈ [2, 2.373) is the exponent of matrix multiplication, but no matching conditional lower bound is known.
Following [Abboud et al., ICALP 2019], we study a bounded version of APC called the k-Bounded All Pairs Connectivity (k-APC) problem. In this variant of APC, we are given an integer k in addition to the graph G, and are now tasked with reporting the size of a minimum (s,t)-cut only for pairs (s,t) of vertices with min-cut value less than k (if the minimum (s,t)-cut has size at least k, we can just report it is "large" instead of computing the exact value).
Our main result is an Õ((kn)^ω) time algorithm solving k-APC in directed graphs. This is the first algorithm which solves k-APC faster than simply solving the more general APC problem exactly, for all k ≥ 3. This runtime is Õ(n^ω) for all k ≤ poly(log n), which essentially matches the optimal runtime for the k = 1 case of k-APC, under popular conjectures from fine-grained complexity. Previously, this runtime was only achieved for general directed graphs when k ≤ 2 [Georgiadis et al., ICALP 2017]. Our result employs the same algebraic framework used in previous work, introduced by [Cheung, Lau, and Leung, FOCS 2011]. A direct implementation of this framework involves inverting a large random matrix. Our new algorithm is based off the insight that for solving k-APC, it suffices to invert a low-rank random matrix instead of a generic random matrix.
We also obtain a new algorithm for a variant of k-APC, the k-Bounded All-Pairs Vertex Connectivity (k-APVC) problem, where for every pair of vertices (s,t), we are now tasked with reporting the maximum number of internally vertex-disjoint (rather than edge-disjoint) paths from s to t if this number is less than k, and otherwise reporting that this number is at least k.
Our second result is an Õ(k²n^ω) time algorithm solving k-APVC in directed graphs. Previous work showed how to solve an easier version of the k-APVC problem (where answers only need to be returned for pairs of vertices (s,t) which are not edges in the graph) in Õ((kn)^ω) time [Abboud et al, ICALP 2019]. In comparison, our algorithm solves the full k-APVC problem, and is faster if ω > 2.

Shyan Akmal and Ce Jin. An Efficient Algorithm for All-Pairs Bounded Edge Connectivity. In 50th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 261, pp. 11:1-11:20, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2023.11, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Jin, Ce}, title = {{An Efficient Algorithm for All-Pairs Bounded Edge Connectivity}}, booktitle = {50th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2023)}, pages = {11:1--11:20}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-278-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2023}, volume = {261}, editor = {Etessami, Kousha and Feige, Uriel and Puppis, Gabriele}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2023.11}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-180632}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2023.11}, annote = {Keywords: maximum flow, all-pairs, connectivity, matrix rank} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 215, 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)

In a Merlin-Arthur proof system, the proof verifier (Arthur) accepts valid proofs (from Merlin) with probability 1, and rejects invalid proofs with probability arbitrarily close to 1. The running time of such a system is defined to be the length of Merlin’s proof plus the running time of Arthur. We provide new Merlin-Arthur proof systems for some key problems in fine-grained complexity. In several cases our proof systems have optimal running time. Our main results include:
- Certifying that a list of n integers has no 3-SUM solution can be done in Merlin-Arthur time Õ(n). Previously, Carmosino et al. [ITCS 2016] showed that the problem has a nondeterministic algorithm running in Õ(n^{1.5}) time (that is, there is a proof system with proofs of length Õ(n^{1.5}) and a deterministic verifier running in Õ(n^{1.5}) time).
- Counting the number of k-cliques with total edge weight equal to zero in an n-node graph can be done in Merlin-Arthur time Õ(n^{⌈ k/2⌉}) (where k ≥ 3). For odd k, this bound can be further improved for sparse graphs: for example, counting the number of zero-weight triangles in an m-edge graph can be done in Merlin-Arthur time Õ(m). Previous Merlin-Arthur protocols by Williams [CCC'16] and Björklund and Kaski [PODC'16] could only count k-cliques in unweighted graphs, and had worse running times for small k.
- Computing the All-Pairs Shortest Distances matrix for an n-node graph can be done in Merlin-Arthur time Õ(n²). Note this is optimal, as the matrix can have Ω(n²) nonzero entries in general. Previously, Carmosino et al. [ITCS 2016] showed that this problem has an Õ(n^{2.94}) nondeterministic time algorithm.
- Certifying that an n-variable k-CNF is unsatisfiable can be done in Merlin-Arthur time 2^{n/2 - n/O(k)}. We also observe an algebrization barrier for the previous 2^{n/2}⋅ poly(n)-time Merlin-Arthur protocol of R. Williams [CCC'16] for #SAT: in particular, his protocol algebrizes, and we observe there is no algebrizing protocol for k-UNSAT running in 2^{n/2}/n^{ω(1)} time. Therefore we have to exploit non-algebrizing properties to obtain our new protocol.
- Certifying a Quantified Boolean Formula is true can be done in Merlin-Arthur time 2^{4n/5}⋅ poly(n). Previously, the only nontrivial result known along these lines was an Arthur-Merlin-Arthur protocol (where Merlin’s proof depends on some of Arthur’s coins) running in 2^{2n/3}⋅poly(n) time. Due to the centrality of these problems in fine-grained complexity, our results have consequences for many other problems of interest. For example, our work implies that certifying there is no Subset Sum solution to n integers can be done in Merlin-Arthur time 2^{n/3}⋅poly(n), improving on the previous best protocol by Nederlof [IPL 2017] which took 2^{0.49991n}⋅poly(n) time.

Shyan Akmal, Lijie Chen, Ce Jin, Malvika Raj, and Ryan Williams. Improved Merlin-Arthur Protocols for Central Problems in Fine-Grained Complexity. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 3:1-3:25, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.3, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Chen, Lijie and Jin, Ce and Raj, Malvika and Williams, Ryan}, title = {{Improved Merlin-Arthur Protocols for Central Problems in Fine-Grained Complexity}}, booktitle = {13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022)}, pages = {3:1--3:25}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-217-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {215}, editor = {Braverman, Mark}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.3}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-155991}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.3}, annote = {Keywords: Fine-grained complexity, Merlin-Arthur proofs} }

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Track A: Algorithms, Complexity and Games

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 198, 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)

Tree edit distance is a well-studied measure of dissimilarity between rooted trees with node labels. It can be computed in O(n³) time [Demaine, Mozes, Rossman, and Weimann, ICALP 2007], and fine-grained hardness results suggest that the weighted version of this problem cannot be solved in truly subcubic time unless the APSP conjecture is false [Bringmann, Gawrychowski, Mozes, and Weimann, SODA 2018].
We consider the unweighted version of tree edit distance, where every insertion, deletion, or relabeling operation has unit cost. Given a parameter k as an upper bound on the distance, the previous fastest algorithm for this problem runs in O(nk³) time [Touzet, CPM 2005], which improves upon the cubic-time algorithm for k≪ n^{2/3}. In this paper, we give a faster algorithm taking O(nk² log n) time, improving both of the previous results for almost the full range of log n ≪ k≪ n/√{log n}.

Shyan Akmal and Ce Jin. Faster Algorithms for Bounded Tree Edit Distance. In 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 198, pp. 12:1-12:15, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.12, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Jin, Ce}, title = {{Faster Algorithms for Bounded Tree Edit Distance}}, booktitle = {48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)}, pages = {12:1--12:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-195-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {198}, editor = {Bansal, Nikhil and Merelli, Emanuela and Worrell, James}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.12}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-140819}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.12}, annote = {Keywords: tree edit distance, edit distance, dynamic programming} }

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Track A: Algorithms, Complexity and Games

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 198, 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)

This paper investigates the approximability of the Longest Common Subsequence (LCS) problem. The fastest algorithm for solving the LCS problem exactly runs in essentially quadratic time in the length of the input, and it is known that under the Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis the quadratic running time cannot be beaten. There are no such limitations for the approximate computation of the LCS however, except in some limited scenarios. There is also a scarcity of approximation algorithms. When the two given strings are over an alphabet of size k, returning the subsequence formed by the most frequent symbol occurring in both strings achieves a 1/k approximation for the LCS. It is an open problem whether a better than 1/k approximation can be achieved in truly subquadratic time (O(n^{2-δ}) time for constant δ > 0).
A recent result [Rubinstein and Song SODA'2020] showed that a 1/2+ε approximation for the LCS over a binary alphabet is possible in truly subquadratic time, provided the input strings have the same length. In this paper we show that if a 1/2+ε approximation (for ε > 0) is achievable for binary LCS in truly subquadratic time when the input strings can be unequal, then for every constant k, there is a truly subquadratic time algorithm that achieves a 1/k+δ approximation for k-ary alphabet LCS for some δ > 0. Thus the binary case is the hardest. We also show that for every constant k, if one is given two strings of equal length over a k-ary alphabet, one can obtain a 1/k+ε approximation for some constant ε > 0 in truly subquadratic time, thus extending the Rubinstein and Song result to all alphabets of constant size.

Shyan Akmal and Virginia Vassilevska Williams. Improved Approximation for Longest Common Subsequence over Small Alphabets. In 48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 198, pp. 13:1-13:18, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{akmal_et_al:LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.13, author = {Akmal, Shyan and Vassilevska Williams, Virginia}, title = {{Improved Approximation for Longest Common Subsequence over Small Alphabets}}, booktitle = {48th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2021)}, pages = {13:1--13:18}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-195-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {198}, editor = {Bansal, Nikhil and Merelli, Emanuela and Worrell, James}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.13}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-140821}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ICALP.2021.13}, annote = {Keywords: approximation algorithms, longest common subsequence, subquadratic} }

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