Induced subgraphs of bounded treewidth and the container method

Tara Abrishami, Maria Chudnovsky, Marcin Pilipczuk, Paweł Rzążewski, Paul Seymour

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

18 Scopus citations


A hole in a graph is an induced cycle of length at least 4. A hole is long if its length is at least 5. By Pt we denote a path on t vertices. In this paper we give polynomial-time algorithms for the following problems: • the Maximum Weight Independent Set problem in long-hole-free graphs, and • the Feedback Vertex Set problem in P5-free graphs. Each of the above results resolves a corresponding longstanding open problem. An extended C5 is a five-vertex hole with an additional vertex adjacent to one or two consecutive vertices of the hole. Let C be the class of graphs excluding an extended C5 and holes of length at least 6 as induced subgraphs; C contains all long-hole-free graphs and all P5-free graphs. We show that, given an n-vertex graph G ∈ C with vertex weights and an integer k, one can in time nO(k) find a maximum-weight induced subgraph of G of treewidth less than k. This implies both aforementioned results. To achieve this goal, we extend the framework of potential maximal cliques (PMCs) to containers. Developed by Bouchitté and Todinca [SIAM J. Comput. 2001] and extended by Fomin, Todinca, and Villanger [SIAM J. Comput. 2015], this framework allows to solve high variety of tasks, including finding a maximum-weight induced subgraph of treewidth less than k for fixed k, in time polynomial in the size of the graph and the number of potential maximal cliques. Further developments, tailored to solve the Maximum Weight Independent Set problem within this framework (e.g., for P5-free [SODA 2014] or P6-free graphs [SODA 2019]), enumerate only a specifically chosen subset of all PMCs of a graph. In all aforementioned works, the final step is an involved dynamic programming algorithm whose state space is based on the considered list of PMCs. Here we modify the dynamic programming algorithm and show that it is sufficient to consider only a container for each potential maximal clique: a superset of the maximal clique that intersects the sought solution only in the vertices of the potential maximal clique. This strengthening of the framework not only allows us to obtain our main result, but also leads to significant simplifications of reasonings in previous papers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2021
EditorsDaniel Marx
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781611976465
StatePublished - 2021
Event32nd Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2021 - Alexandria, Virtual, United States
Duration: Jan 10 2021Jan 13 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms


Conference32nd Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAlexandria, Virtual

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • General Mathematics


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