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How fast can we reach a target vertex in stochastic temporal graphs?

Akrida, Eleni C. and Mertzios, George B. and Nikoletseas, Sotiris and Raptopoulos, Christoforos and Spirakis, Paul G. and Zamaraev, Viktor (2019) 'How fast can we reach a target vertex in stochastic temporal graphs?', in 46th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2019). Dagstuhl, Germany: Dagstuhl Publishing, 131:1-131:14. Leibniz International Proceedings inInformatics (LIPIcs). (132).


Temporal graphs are used to abstractly model real-life networks that are inherently dynamic in nature, in the sense that the network structure undergoes discrete changes over time. Given a static underlying graph G=(V,E), a temporal graph on G is a sequence of snapshots {G_t=(V,E_t) subseteq G: t in N}, one for each time step t >= 1. In this paper we study stochastic temporal graphs, i.e. stochastic processes G={G_t subseteq G: t in N} whose random variables are the snapshots of a temporal graph on G. A natural feature of stochastic temporal graphs which can be observed in various real-life scenarios is a memory effect in the appearance probabilities of particular edges; that is, the probability an edge e in E appears at time step t depends on its appearance (or absence) at the previous k steps. In this paper we study the hierarchy of models memory-k, k >= 0, which address this memory effect in an edge-centric network evolution: every edge of G has its own probability distribution for its appearance over time, independently of all other edges. Clearly, for every k >= 1, memory-(k-1) is a special case of memory-k. However, in this paper we make a clear distinction between the values k=0 ("no memory") and k >= 1 ("some memory"), as in some cases these models exhibit a fundamentally different computational behavior for these values of k, as our results indicate. For every k >= 0 we investigate the computational complexity of two naturally related, but fundamentally different, temporal path (or journey) problems: {Minimum Arrival} and {Best Policy}. In the first problem we are looking for the expected arrival time of a foremost journey between two designated vertices {s},{y}. In the second one we are looking for the expected arrival time of the best policy for actually choosing a particular {s}-{y} journey. We present a detailed investigation of the computational landscape of both problems for the different values of memory k. Among other results we prove that, surprisingly, {Minimum Arrival} is strictly harder than {Best Policy}; in fact, for k=0, {Minimum Arrival} is #P-hard while {Best Policy} is solvable in O(n^2) time.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:© Eleni C. Akrida, George B. Mertzios, Sotiris Nikoletseas, Christoforos Raptopoulos, Paul G. Spirakis, and Viktor Zamaraev; licensed under Creative Commons License CC-BY.
Date accepted:19 April 2019
Date deposited:21 May 2019
Date of first online publication:2019
Date first made open access:12 July 2019

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