Finding common structured patterns in linear graphs

Guillaume Fertin, Danny Hermelin, Romeo Rizzi, Stéphane Vialette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A linear graph is a graph whose vertices are linearly ordered. This linear ordering allows pairs of disjoint edges to be either preceding (<), nesting ({square subset}) or crossing ({between}). Given a family of linear graphs, and a non-empty subset R ⊆ {<, {square subset}, {between}}, we are interested in the Maximum Common Structured Pattern (MCSP) problem: find a maximum size edge-disjoint graph, with edge pairs all comparable by one of the relations in R, that occurs as a subgraph in each of the linear graphs of the family. The MCSP problem generalizes many structure-comparison and structure-prediction problems that arise in computational molecular biology. We give tight hardness results for the MCSP problem for {<, {between}}-structured patterns and {{square subset}, {between}}-structured patterns. Furthermore, we prove that the problem is approximable within ratios: (i) 2 ℋ (k) for {<, {between}}-structured patterns, (ii) k1 / 2 for {{square subset}, {between}}-structured patterns, and (iii) O (sqrt(k log k)) for {<, {square subset}, {between}}-structured patterns, where k is the size of the optimal solution and ℋ (k) = ∑i = 1k 1 / i is the kth harmonic number. Also, we provide combinatorial results concerning different types of structured patterns that are of independent interest in their own right.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2475-2486
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number26-28
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Approximation
  • Linear graphs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science (all)


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