Explorable Families of Graphs
Graph exploration is one of the fundamental tasks performed by a mobile agent in a graph. An n-node graph has unlabeled nodes, and all ports at any node of degree d are arbitrarily numbered \(0,\dots , d-1\). A mobile agent, initially situated at some starting node v, has to visit all nodes of the graph and stop. In the absence of any initial knowledge of the graph the task of deterministic exploration is often impossible. On the other hand, for some families of graphs it is possible to design deterministic exploration algorithms working for any graph of the family. We call such families of graphs explorable. Examples of explorable families are all finite families of graphs, as well as the family of all trees.
In this paper we study the problem of which families of graphs are explorable. We characterize all such families, and then ask the question whether there exists a universal deterministic algorithm that, given an explorable family of graphs, explores any graph of this family, without knowing which graph of the family is being explored. The answer to this question turns out to depend on how the explorable family is given to the hypothetical universal algorithm. If the algorithm can get the answer to any yes/no question about the family, then such a universal algorithm can be constructed. If, on the other hand, the algorithm can be only given an algorithmic description of the input explorable family, then such a universal deterministic algorithm does not exist.
KeywordsAlgorithm Graph Exploration Mobile agent Explorable family of graphs
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