Finding Paths with Minimum Shared Edges

  • Masoud T. Omran
  • Jörg-Rüdiger Sack
  • Hamid Zarrabi-Zadeh
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6842)


Motivated by a security problem in geographic information systems, we study the following graph theoretical problem: given a graph G, two special nodes s and t in G, and a number k, find k paths from s to t in G so as to minimize the number of edges shared among the paths. This is a generalization of the well-known disjoint paths problem. While disjoint paths can be computed efficiently, we show that finding paths with minimum shared edges is NP-hard. Moreover, we show that it is even hard to approximate the minimum number of shared edges to within a factor of \(2^{\log^{1-\varepsilon }n}\), for any constant ε > 0. On the positive side, we show that there exists a k-approximation algorithm for the problem, using an adaption of a network flow algorithm. We design some heuristics to improve the quality of the output, and provide empirical results.


Approximation Algorithm Destination Node Disjoint Path Find Path Shared Edge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masoud T. Omran
    • 1
  • Jörg-Rüdiger Sack
    • 1
  • Hamid Zarrabi-Zadeh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Computer EngineeringSharif University of TechnologyTehranIran

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