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The complexity of temporal vertex cover in small-degree graphs

Hamm, T. and Klobas, N. and Mertzios, G.B. and Spirakis, P.G. (2022) 'The complexity of temporal vertex cover in small-degree graphs.', 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Vancouver, BC, Feb 22 - Mar 01 2022.


Temporal graphs naturally model graphs whose underlying topology changes over time. Recently, the problems Temporal Vertex Cover (or TVC) and Sliding-Window Temporal Vertex Cover (or ∆- TVC for time-windows of a fixed-length ∆) have been established as natural extensions of the classic Vertex Cover problem on static graphs with connections to areas such as surveillance in sensor networks. In this paper we initiate a systematic study of the complexity of TVC and ∆-TVC on sparse graphs. Our main result shows that for every ∆ ≥ 2, ∆-TVC is NPhard even when the underlying topology is described by a path or a cycle. This resolves an open problem from literature and shows a surprising contrast between ∆- TVC and TVC for which we provide a polynomialtime algorithm in the same setting. To circumvent this hardness, we present a number of exact and approximation algorithms for temporal graphs whose underlying topologies are given by a path, that have bounded vertex degree in every time step, or that admit a smallsized temporal vertex cover.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:02 December 2021
Date deposited:09 December 2021
Date of first online publication:2022
Date first made open access:No date available

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