Acta Informatica

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 465–475

Black-white pebbles and graph separation

  • Thomas Lengauer

DOI: 10.1007/BF00264496

Cite this article as:
Lengauer, T. Acta Informatica (1981) 16: 465. doi:10.1007/BF00264496


We exhibit a close relationship between two topics in computational complexity. One topic is the analysis of storage requirements for nondeterministic computations. The corresponding mathematical model is a well known black-white pebble game on directed acyclic graphs. The other topic is the search for small separators of undirected graphs. We model a dynamic version of the concept of a separator with a vertex separator game. This game is closely related to graph layout and searching problems. We show that instances of the black-white pebble game and the vertex separator game can easily be transformed into each other. As an application of this result both games are shown to be NP-complete.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Lengauer
    • 1
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA
  2. 2.Fachbereich 10Universität des SaarlandesSaarbrückenGermany