Exclusive Graph Searching
This paper tackles the well known graph searching problem, where a team of searchers aims at capturing an intruder in a network, modeled as a graph. All variants of this problem assume that any node can be simultaneously occupied by several searchers. This assumption may be unrealistic, e.g., in the case of searchers modeling physical searchers, or may require each individual node to provide additional resources, e.g., in the case of searchers modeling software agents. We thus investigate exclusive graph searching, in which no two or more searchers can occupy the same node at the same time, and, as for the classical variants of graph searching, we study the minimum number of searchers required to capture the intruder. This number is called the exclusive search number of the considered graph. Exclusive graph searching appears to be considerably more complex than classical graph searching, for at least two reasons: (1) it does not satisfy the monotonicity property, and (2) it is not closed under minor. Nevertheless, we design a polynomial-time algorithm which, given any tree T, computes the exclusive search number of T. Moreover, for any integer k, we provide a characterization of the trees T with exclusive search number at most k. This characterization allows us to describe a special type of exclusive search strategies, that can be executed in a distributed environment, i.e., in a framework in which the searchers are limited to cooperate in a distributed manner.
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