# Hamiltonian Paths in the Square of a Tree

## Abstract

We introduce a new family of graphs for which the Hamiltonian path problem is non-trivial and yet has a linear time solution. The square of a graph *G* = (*V*,*E*), denoted as *G*^{2}, is a graph with the set of vertices *V*, in which two vertices are connected by an edge if there exists a path of length at most 2 connecting them in *G*. Harary & Schwenk (1971) proved that the square of a tree *T* contains a Hamiltonian cycle if and only if *T* is a caterpillar, i.e., it is a single path with several leafs connected to it. Our first main result is a simple graph-theoretic characterization of trees *T* for which *T*^{2} contains a Hamiltonian path: *T*^{2} has a Hamiltonian path if and only if *T* is a horsetail (the name is due to the characteristic shape of these trees, see Figure 1). Our next results are two efficient algorithms: linear time testing if *T*^{2} contains a Hamiltonian path and finding such a path (if there is any), and linear time preprocessing after which we can check for any pair (*u*,*v*) of nodes of *T* in constant time if there is a Hamiltonian path from *u* to *v* in *T*^{2}.

### Keywords

tree square of a graph Hamiltonian path## Preview

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