The Complexity of Computing Minimal Unidirectional Covering Sets
Given a binary dominance relation on a set of alternatives, a common thread in the social sciences is to identify subsets of alternatives that satisfy certain notions of stability. Examples can be found in areas as diverse as voting theory, game theory, and argumentation theory. Brandt and Fischer  proved that it is NP-hard to decide whether an alternative is contained in some inclusion-minimal unidirectional (i.e., either upward or downward) covering set. For both problems, we raise this lower bound to the \(\Theta_2^p\) level of the polynomial hierarchy and provide a \(\Sigma_2^p\) upper bound. Relatedly, we show that a variety of other natural problems regarding minimal or minimum-size unidirectional covering sets are hard or complete for either of NP, coNP, and \(\Theta_2^p\). An important consequence of our results is that neither minimal upward nor minimal downward covering sets (even when guaranteed to exist) can be computed in polynomial time unless P=NP. This sharply contrasts with Brandt and Fischer’s result that minimal bidirectional covering sets are polynomial-time computable.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 10.Conitzer, V.: Computing Slater rankings using similarities among candidates. In: Proceedings of the 21st National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, pp. 613–619. AAAI Press, Menlo Park (2006)Google Scholar
- 12.Brandt, F., Fischer, F., Harrenstein, P., Mair, M.: A computational analysis of the tournament equilibrium set. Social Choice and Welfare (Forthcoming)Google Scholar
- 18.Faliszewski, P., Hemaspaandra, E., Hemaspaandra, L., Rothe, J.: A richer understanding of the complexity of election systems. In: Ravi, S., Shukla, S. (eds.) Fundamental Problems in Computing: Essays in Honor of Professor Daniel J. Rosenkrantz, pp. 375–406. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 19.Baumeister, D., Brandt, F., Fischer, F., Hoffmann, J., Rothe, J.: The complexity of computing minimal unidirectional covering sets. Technical Report arXiv:0901.3692v3 [cs.CC], ACM Computing Research Repository, CoRR (2009)Google Scholar