On Polynomial Kernels for Structural Parameterizations of Odd Cycle Transversal

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The Odd Cycle Transversal problem (OCT) asks whether a given graph can be made bipartite (i.e., 2-colorable) by deleting at most ℓ vertices. We study structural parameterizations of OCT with respect to their polynomial kernelizability, i.e., whether instances can be efficiently reduced to a size polynomial in the chosen parameter. It is a major open problem in parameterized complexity whether Odd Cycle Transversal admits a polynomial kernel when parameterized by ℓ.

On the positive side, we show a polynomial kernel for OCT when parameterized by the vertex deletion distance to the class of bipartite graphs of treewidth at most w (for any constant w); this generalizes the parameter feedback vertex set number (i.e., the distance to a forest).

Complementing this, we exclude polynomial kernels for OCT parameterized by the distance to outerplanar graphs, conditioned on the assumption that NP \(\nsubseteq\) coNP/poly. Thus the bipartiteness requirement for the treewidth w graphs is necessary. Further lower bounds are given for parameterization by distance from cluster and co-cluster graphs respectively, as well as for Weighted OCT parameterized by the vertex cover number (i.e., the distance from an independent set).