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# Almost Tight Lower Bounds for Hard Cutting Problems in Embedded Graphs

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posted on 2023-11-29, 18:06 authored by Vincent Cohen-Addad, Éric Colin De Verdière, Dániel MarxDániel Marx, Arnaud De MesmayWe prove essentially tight lower bounds, conditionally to the Exponential Time Hypothesis, for two fundamental but seemingly very different cutting problems on surface-embedded graphs: the Shortest Cut Graph problem and the Multiway Cut problem.
A cut graph of a graph G embedded on a surface S is a subgraph of G whose removal from S leaves a disk. We consider the problem of deciding whether an unweighted graph embedded on a surface of genus G has a cut graph of length at most a given value. We prove a time lower bound for this problem of nΩ(g log g) conditionally to the ETH. In other words, the first nO(g)-time algorithm by Erickson and Har-Peled [SoCG 2002, Discr. Comput. Geom. 2004] is essentially optimal. We also prove that the problem is W[1]-hard when parameterized by the genus, answering a 17-year-old question of these authors.
A multiway cut of an undirected graph G with t distinguished vertices, called terminals, is a set of edges whose removal disconnects all pairs of terminals. We consider the problem of deciding whether an unweighted graph G has a multiway cut of weight at most a given value. We prove a time lower bound for this problem of nΩ(gt+ g2+tlog (g+t)), conditionally to the ETH, for any choice of the genus g ≥ 0 of the graph and the number of terminals t≥ 4. In other words, the algorithm by the second author [Algorithmica 2017] (for the more general multicut problem) is essentially optimal; this extends the lower bound by the third author [ICALP 2012] (for the planar case).
Reductions to planar problems usually involve a gridlike structure. The main novel idea for our results is to understand what structures instead of grids are needed if we want to exploit optimally a certain value G of the genus.

## History

## Preferred Citation

Vincent Cohen-Addad, Verdière De, Dániel Marx and Mesmay De. Almost Tight Lower Bounds for Hard Cutting Problems in Embedded Graphs. In: Journal of the ACM. 2021.## Primary Research Area

- Algorithmic Foundations and Cryptography

## Legacy Posted Date

2022-04-29## Journal

Journal of the ACM## Pages

1 - 26## Open Access Type

- Green

## Sub Type

- Article

## BibTeX

@article{cispa_all_3625, title = "Almost Tight Lower Bounds for Hard Cutting Problems in Embedded Graphs", author = "Cohen-Addad, Vincent and De Verdière, Éric Colin and Marx, Dániel and De Mesmay, Arnaud ", journal="{Journal of the ACM}", year="2021", }## Usage metrics

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