The Disjoint Paths Problems: an annotated tableau

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The Disjoint Paths Problems

Preliminary

This page is the online version of the tableau [25], a joint work with András Sebő, that appeared in the book Research Trends in Combinatorial Optimization [2]. It is an attempt to capture some of the most important variants of the disjoint paths problems, as well as pointing out some open problems. We only considered the decision versions of the problems. We believe that an optimization version of the tableau, including approximability, would also be necessary.

Despite all our care in making this tableau, it is still possible that we missed some known results. If you find any error or omission, or have any constructive remark, it would be most helpful to send me an email.

The main definitions concerning disjoint paths problems, and the notations can be found on this page.

The tableau is divided into three parts:

Each part is then further divided between the undirected, directed and directed acyclic cases, and depending on the nature of $H$ and the quantity of request. You will find a bibliography at the foot of this page.

$G$ is arbitrary

directed directed acyclic undirected
$E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d
$|H|$ $r$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$
arb. bin NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC
un NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC
fix bin NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC P NPC NPC P
un NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC
fix NPC ??? P P P P
2 bin NPC P NPC NPC P P NPC P P
un NPC P NPC P NPC P
fix NPC P P P NPC P
2 NPC P P P P P

A remarkable fact is that here only one cell is open, namely the arc-disjoint paths problem for Eulerian instances with a fixed total request and $|E(H)| \geq 3$. The simplest version is actually in P, where one wants to decide the existence of three disjoint paths, as asserted by the Theorem 8 of Ibaraki and Poljak stated below. If the total request is $4$ the problem is open.

The main theorems, in an arbitrary order:

Theorem 1: (Even , Itai, Shamir [4]) The edge-disjoint paths problem in undirected graphs and the arc-disjoint paths problem in directed acyclic graphs is NP-complete,, even if $r(E(H)) = 3$.

Theorem 2: (Fortune , Hopcroft, Wyllie [5]) The vertex-disjoint paths problem is NP-complete, even if $r(E(H)) = 2$.

Theorem 3: (Vygen [43]) The integer multicommodity flow problem is NP-complete even if $G$ is an acyclic directed graph, $r+c$ is Eulerian and $|E(H)| = 3$.

Theorem 4: (Frank [7]) The integer multicommodity flow problem in Eulerian digraphs with $|E(H)| = 2$ is solvable in polynomial-time. The cut condition is sufficient for the existence of a solution.

Theorem 5: (Fortune , Hopcroft, Wyllie [5]) The arc-disjoint paths problem in directed acyclic graph with $r(E(H))$ bounded is solvable in polynomial-time.

Theorem 6: (Lomonosov [15]) The undirected integer multicommodity flow problem is solvable in polynomial-time in Eulerian instances when $H$ is the union of two stars, or $K_4$, or $C_5$. In these cases, the cut condition is sufficient.

A weaker version of the previous theorem was proved by Rothschild and Whinston [30] for the case when $H$ is the union of two stars.

Theorem 7: (Robertson , Seymour [29]) The vertex-disjoint paths problem in undirected graphs with $r(E(H))$ bounded is solvable in polynomial-time. By usual reduction, under the same condition the edge-disjoint paths problem is also in P.

Theorem 8: (Ibaraki , Poljak [12]) The arc-disjoint paths problem in Eulerian instances with $r(E(H)) = 3$ is in P.

The following powerful lemma from Vygen allows to extend some results from DAG to undirected graphs when the Eulerian condition is assumed. It is used several times in the tableau.

Lemma 9: (Vygen [43]) Let $G,H,r,c$ be an instance of the arc-disjoint paths problem with $G+H$ Eulerian and $G$ acyclic. Let $G',H'$ be obtained by neglecting the orientation of $G,H$ respectively. There is a solution to the arc-disjoint paths problem in $G,H,r,c$ iff there is a solution to the edge-disjoint paths problem in $G',H',r,c$.

$G$ is planar

directed directed acyclic undirected
$E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d
$|H|$ $r$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$
arb. bin NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC
un NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC NPC
fix bin NPC ??? P NPC ??? P NPC ??? P
un NPC ??? NPC P NPC ???
fix ??? ??? P P P P
2 bin NPC P P NPC P P NPC P P
un NPC P NPC P NPC P
fix ??? P P P P P
2 ??? P P P P P

Theorem 10: (Marx [19]) The arc-disjoint paths problem is NP-complete on Eulerian instances even if $G$ is planar and acyclic. The edge-disjoint paths problem is NP-complete on Eulerian instances even if $G$ is undirected and planar.

Theorem 11: (Naves [23]) The integer multicommodity flow problem is NP-complete even with one of the following restrictions:

  • $G$ is a planar undirected graph, $H$ has only two edges with endpoints on the same face of $G$,
  • $G$ is a directed graph, $G+H$ is planar and $|V(H)| = 2$,
  • $G$ is a directed acyclic planar graph, $H$ has only two arcs with endpoints on the same face of $G$.

Dirk Müller [21] proved in 2006 the weaker case when $G$ is directed and planar and $|V(H)| = 2$.

Theorem 12: (Schrijver [35]) The vertex-disjoint paths problem in planar digraphs with $|E(H)|$ bounded is solvable in polynomial-time.

Theorem 13: (Naves [24]) The edge-disjoint paths problem is solvable in polynomial-time on Eulerian instances when $G$ is a directed acyclic planar graph and $|E(H)|$ is bounded.

$G+H$ is planar

directed directed acyclic undirected
$E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d $E$-d $V$-d
$|H|$ $r$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$ $gen$ $Eul$
arb. bin NPC ??? NPC P P NPC NPC P NPC
un NPC ??? P P NPC P
fix bin NPC ??? P P P P P P P
un NPC ??? P P P P
fix ??? ??? P P P P
2 bin NPC P P P P P P P P
un NPC P P P P P
fix ??? P P P P P
2 ??? P P P P P

Theorem 14: (Middendorf , Pfeiffer [20]) The edge-disjoint paths problem is NP-complete even if $G+H$ is planar.

From the previous theorem, we derived a directed version:

Theorem 15: (Naves , Sebő [25]) The vertex-disjoint paths problem in acyclic digraphs with $G+H$ planar is NP-complete.

Theorem 16: (Lucchesi , Younger [17]) The integer multicommodity flow problem is in P when restricted to instances where $G$ is a directed acyclic graph and $G+H$ is planar.

Theorem 17: (Seymour [41]) The integer multicommodity flow problem is in P when restricted to Eulerian instances where $G$ is undirected and $G+H$ does not contain a $K_5$-minor (in particular when $G+H$ is planar).

Theorem 18: (Sebő [39]) The integer multicommodity flow problem is in P when $G$ is undirected, $G+H$ is planar and $|E(H)|$ is bounded.

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