# Maximum skew-symmetric flows and matchings

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## Abstract.

The maximum integer skew-symmetric flow problem (MSFP) generalizes both the maximum flow and maximum matching problems. It was introduced by Tutte [28] in terms of self-conjugate flows in antisymmetrical digraphs. He showed that for these objects there are natural analogs of classical theoretical results on usual network flows, such as the flow decomposition, augmenting path, and max-flow min-cut theorems. We give unified and shorter proofs for those theoretical results. We then extend to MSFP the shortest augmenting path method of Edmonds and Karp [7] and the blocking flow method of Dinits [4], obtaining algorithms with similar time bounds in general case. Moreover, in the cases of unit arc capacities and unit “node capacities” our blocking skew-symmetric flow algorithm has time bounds similar to those established in [8, 21] for Dinits’ algorithm. In particular, this implies an algorithm for finding a maximum matching in a nonbipartite graph in Open image in new window time, which matches the time bound for the algorithm of Micali and Vazirani [25]. Finally, extending a clique compression technique of Feder and Motwani [9] to particular skew-symmetric graphs, we speed up the implied maximum matching algorithm to run in Open image in new window time, improving the best known bound for dense nonbipartite graphs. Also other theoretical and algorithmic results on skew-symmetric flows and their applications are presented.

## Keywords

skew-symmetric graph network flow - matching b-matching## Preview

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