Deterministic Algorithms for Unique Sink Orientations of Grids

  • Luis Barba
  • Malte Milatz
  • Jerri Nummenpalo
  • Antonis ThomasEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9797)


We study Unique Sink Orientations (USOs) of grids: Cartesian products of two complete graphs on n vertices, where the edges are oriented in such a way that each subgrid has a unique sink. We consider two different oracle models, the edge query and the vertex query model. An edge query provides the orientation of the queried edge, whereas a vertex query provides the orientation of all edges incident to the queried vertex. We are interested in bounding the number of queries to the oracle needed by an algorithm to find the sink. In the randomized setting, the best known algorithms find the sink using either \(\varTheta (n)\) edge queries, or \(O(\log ^2 n)\) vertex queries, in expectation. We prove that \(O(n^{\log _4 7})\) edge queries and \(O(n \log n)\) vertex queries suffice to find the sink in the deterministic setting. A deterministic lower bound for both models is \(\varOmega (n)\). Grid USOs are instances of LP-type problems and violator spaces for which derandomizations of known algorithms remain elusive.


Unique sink orientation LP-type problem Violator spaces 



This work started at the 13th Gremo’s Workshop on Open Problems (GWOP), Feldis (GR), Switzerland. We thank the organizers. In addition, we thank Bernd Gärtner and Emo Welzl for useful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Barba
    • 1
    • 2
  • Malte Milatz
    • 3
  • Jerri Nummenpalo
    • 3
  • Antonis Thomas
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Université Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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