A Warning Propagation-Based Linear-Time-and-Space Algorithm for the Minimum Vertex Cover Problem on Giant Graphs

  • Hong XuEmail author
  • Kexuan Sun
  • Sven Koenig
  • T. K. Satish Kumar
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10848)


A vertex cover (VC) of a graph \(G\) is a subset of vertices in \(G\) such that at least one endpoint vertex of each edge in \(G\) is in this subset. The minimum VC (MVC) problem is to identify a VC of minimum size (cardinality) and is known to be NP-hard. Although many local search algorithms have been developed to solve the MVC problem close-to-optimally, their applicability on giant graphs (with no less than 100,000 vertices) is limited. For such graphs, there are two reasons why it would be beneficial to have linear-time-and-space algorithms that produce small VCs. Such algorithms can: (a) serve as preprocessing steps to produce good starting states for local search algorithms and (b) also be useful for many applications that require finding small VCs quickly. In this paper, we develop a new linear-time-and-space algorithm, called MVC-WP, for solving the MVC problem on giant graphs based on the idea of warning propagation, which has so far only been used as a theoretical tool for studying properties of MVCs on infinite random graphs. We empirically show that it outperforms other known linear-time-and-space algorithms in terms of sizes of produced VCs.



The research at the University of Southern California was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant numbers 1724392, 1409987, and 1319966. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the sponsoring organizations, agencies or the U.S. government.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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