Fixed-Parameter Tractability, A Prehistory,
Many of the foundational parameterized tenets discussed in this festschrift actually predate by over a decade the first systematic treatments of fixed-parameter tractability. In this frank, firsthand account I will, to the best of my recollection, describe some of the earliest research avenues Mike Fellows and I pursued that would turn out later to be highly relevant to parameterized complexity. Although we did not know it at the time, these were the origins and formative years of this burgeoning new field. Readers unfamiliar with the history of fixed-parameter tractability may be surprised to learn that its initial motivations arose from, of all things, automation and optimization for integrated circuit design.
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