Approximate Shortest Paths Guided by a Small Index
Distance oracles and graph spanners are excerpts of a graph that allow to compute approximate shortest paths. Here, we consider the situation where it is possible to access the original graph in addition to the graph excerpt while computing paths. This allows for asymptotically much smaller excerpts than distance oracles or spanners. The quality of an algorithm in this setting is measured by the size of the excerpt (in bits), by how much of the original graph is accessed (in number of edges), and the stretch of the computed path (as the ratio between the length of the path and the distance between its end points). Because these three objectives are conflicting goals, we are interested in a good trade-off. We measure the number of accesses to the graph relative to the number of edges in the computed path.
We present a parametrized construction that, for constant stretches, achieves excerpt sizes and number of accessed edges that are both sublinear in the number of graph vertices. We also show that within these limits, a stretch smaller than 5 cannot be guaranteed.
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