A tight √2-approximation for Linear 3-cut

Kristóf Bérczi, Karthekeyan Chandrasekaran, Tamás Király, Vivek Madan

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


We investigate the approximability of the linear 3-cut problem in directed graphs, which is the simplest unsolved case of the linear k-cut problem. The input here is a directed graph D = (V;E) with node weights and three specified terminal nodes s; r; t 2 V, and the goal is to find a minimum weight subset of non-terminal nodes whose removal ensures that s cannot reach r and t, and r cannot reach t. The problem is approximation-equivalent to the problem of blocking rooted inand out-arborescences, and it also has applications in network coding and security. The approximability of linear 3-cut has been wide open until now: the best known lower bound under the Unique Games Conjecture (UGC) was 4=3, while the best known upper bound was 2 using a trivial algorithm. In this work we completely close this gap: we present a p 2-approximation algorithm and show that this factor is tight assuming UGC. Our contributions are twofold: (1) we analyze a natural two-step deterministic rounding scheme through the lens of a single-step randomized rounding scheme with non-trivial distributions, and (2) we construct integrality gap instances that meet the upper bound of p 2. Our gap instances can be viewed as a weighted graph sequence converging to a "graph limit structure".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication29th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2018
EditorsArtur Czumaj
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781611975031
StatePublished - 2018
Event29th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2018Jan 10 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms


Other29th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2018
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)

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