# Greed is good: Approximating independent sets in sparse and bounded-degree graphs

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## Abstract

The*minimum-degree greedy* algorithm, or Greedy for short, is a simple and well-studied method for finding independent sets in graphs. We show that it achieves a performance ratio of (Δ+2)/3 for approximating independent sets in graphs with degree bounded by Δ. The analysis yields a precise characterization of the size of the independent sets found by the algorithm as a function of the independence number, as well as a generalization of Turán’s bound. We also analyze the algorithm when run in combination with a known preprocessing technique, and obtain an improved\((2\bar d + 3)/5\) performance ratio on graphs with average degree\(\bar d\), improving on the previous best\((\bar d + 1)/2\) of Hochbaum. Finally, we present an efficient parallel and distributed algorithm attaining the performance guarantees of Greedy.

## Key Words

Independent set problem Heuristics Approximation algorithms## Preview

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