An Improvement of Reed’s Treewidth Approximation

Mahdi Belbasi, Martin Fürer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


We present a new approximation algorithm for the treewidth problem which constructs a corresponding tree decomposition as well. Our algorithm is a faster variation of Reed’s classical algorithm. For the benefit of the reader, and to be able to compare these two algorithms, we start with a detailed time analysis for Reed’s algorithm. We fill in many details that have been omitted in Reed’s paper. Computing tree decompositions parameterized by the treewidth k is fixed parameter tractable (FPT), meaning that there are algorithms running in time O(f(k)g(n)) where f is a computable function, g(n) is polynomial in n, and n is the number of vertices. An analysis of Reed’s algorithm shows f(k) = 2O ( k log k ) and g(n) = nlog n for a 5-approximation. Reed simply claims time O(nlog n) for bounded k for his constant factor approximation algorithm, but the bound of 2Ω ( k log k )nlog n is well known. From a practical point of view, we notice that the time of Reed’s algorithm also contains a term of O(k2224 knlog n), which for small k is much worse than the asymptotically leading term of 2O ( k log k )nlog n. We analyze f(k) more precisely, because the purpose of this paper is to improve the running times for all reasonably small values of k. Our algorithm runs in O(f(k) nlog n) too, but with a much smaller dependence on k. In our case, f(k) = 2O ( k ). This algorithm is simple and fast, especially for small values of k. We should mention that Bodlaender et al. [2016] have an asymptotically faster algorithm running in time 2O ( k )n. It relies on a very sophisticated data structure and does not claim to be useful for small values of k.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWALCOM
Subtitle of host publicationAlgorithms and Computation - 15th International Conference and Workshops, WALCOM 2021, Proceedings
EditorsRyuhei Uehara, Seok-Hee Hong, Subhas C. Nandy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783030682101
StatePublished - 2021
Event15th International Conference on Algorithms and Computation, WALCOM 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Feb 28 2021Mar 2 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12635 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference15th International Conference on Algorithms and Computation, WALCOM 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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