Journal of Combinatorial Optimization

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 1312–1329 | Cite as

On the algorithmic aspects of strong subcoloring

  • M. A. Shalu
  • S. Vijayakumar
  • S. Devi Yamini
  • T. P. Sandhya


A partition of the vertex set V(G) of a graph G into \(V(G)=V_1\cup V_2\cup \cdots \cup V_k\) is called a k-strong subcoloring if \(d(x,y)\ne 2\) in G for every \(x,y\in V_i\), \(1\le i \le k\) where d(xy) denotes the length of a shortest x-y path in G. The strong subchromatic number is defined as \(\chi _{sc}(G)=\text {min}\{ k:G \text { admits a }k\)-\(\text {strong subcoloring}\}\). In this paper, we explore the complexity status of the StrongSubcoloring problem: for a given graph G and a positive integer k, StrongSubcoloring is to decide whether G admits a k-strong subcoloring. We prove that StrongSubcoloring is NP-complete for subcubic bipartite graphs and the problem is polynomial time solvable for trees. In addition, we prove the following dichotomy results: (i) for the class of \(K_{1,r}\)-free split graphs, StrongSubcoloring is in P when \(r\le 3\) and NP-complete when \(r>3\) and (ii) for the class of H-free graphs, StrongSubcoloring is polynomial time solvable only if H is an induced subgraph of \(P_4\); otherwise the problem is NP-complete. Next, we consider a lower bound on the strong subchromatic number. A strong set is a set S of vertices of a graph G such that for every \(x,y\in S\), \(d(x,y)= 2\) in G and the cardinality of a maximum strong set in G is denoted by \(\alpha _{s}(G)\). Clearly, \(\alpha _{s}(G)\le \chi _{sc}(G)\). We consider the complexity status of the StrongSet problem: given a graph G and a positive integer k, StrongSet asks whether G contains a strong set of cardinality k. We prove that StrongSet is NP-complete for (i) bipartite graphs and (ii) \(K_{1,4}\)-free split graphs, and it is polynomial time solvable for (i) trees and (ii) \(P_4\)-free graphs.


Coloring Subcoloring Strong subcoloring Strong set 



The authors wish to thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments on the content and presentation of this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing (IIITD&M)Kancheepuram, ChennaiIndia
  2. 2.VIT UniversityChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of ComputingThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonHong Kong

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