Faster parameterized algorithms for minor containment

Isolde Adler, Frederic Dorn, Fedor V. Fomin, Ignasi Sau, Dimitrios M. Thilikos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The theory of Graph Minors by Robertson and Seymour is one of the deepest and significant theories in modern Combinatorics. This theory has also a strong impact on the recent development of Algorithms, and several areas, like Parameterized Complexity, have roots in Graph Minors. Until very recently it was a common belief that Graph Minors Theory is mainly of theoretical importance. However, it appears that many deep results from Robertson and Seymour's theory can be also used in the design of practical algorithms. Minor containment testing is one of algorithmically most important and technical parts of the theory, and minor containment in graphs of bounded branchwidth is a basic ingredient of this algorithm. In order to implement minor containment testing on graphs of bounded branchwidth, Hicks [NETWORKS 04] described an algorithm, that in time script O(3k2·(h + k - 1)!·m) decides if a graph G with m edges and branchwidth k, contains a fixed graph H on h vertices as a minor. That algorithm follows the ideas introduced by Robertson and Seymour in [J'CTSB 95]. In this work we improve the dependence on k of Hicks' result by showing that checking if H is a minor of G can be done in time script O(2 (2k+1)·log k·h2k·2 2h2·m). Our approach is based on a combinatorial object called rooted packing, which captures the properties of the potential models of subgraphs of H that we seek in our dynamic programming algorithm. This formulation with rooted packings allows us to speed up the algorithm when G is embedded in a fixed surface, obtaining the first single-exponential algorithm for minor containment testing. Namely, it runs in time 2 script O(k)·h2k·2 script O(h)·n, with n=|V(G)|. Finally, we show that slight modifications of our algorithm permit to solve some related problems within the same time bounds, like induced minor or contraction minor containment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAlgorithm Theory - SWAT 2010 - 12th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory, Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2010
Event12th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory, SWAT 2010 - Bergen, Norway
Duration: Jun 21 2010Jun 23 2010

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6139 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference12th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory, SWAT 2010


  • branchwidth
  • dynamic programming
  • Graph minors
  • graphs on surfaces
  • parameterized complexity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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