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A refined complexity analysis of fair districting over graphs

Boehmer, Niclas; Koana, Tomohiro; Niedermeier, Rolf; Springer (Contributor)

We study the NP-hard FAIR CONNECTED DISTRICTING problem recently proposed by Stoica et al. [AAMAS 2020]: Partition a vertex-colored graph into k connected components (subsequently referred to as districts) so that in every district the most frequent color occurs at most a given number of times more often than the second most frequent color. FAIR CONNECTED DISTRICTING is motivated by various real-world scenarios where agents of different types, which are one-to-one represented by nodes in a network, have to be partitioned into disjoint districts. Herein, one strives for “fair districts” without any type being in a dominating majority in any of the districts. This is to e.g. prevent segregation or political domination of some political party. We conduct a fine-grained analysis of the (parameterized) computational complexity of FAIR CONNECTED DISTRICTING. In particular, we prove that it is polynomial-time solvable on paths, cycles, stars, and caterpillars, but already becomes NP-hard on trees. Motivated by the latter negative result, we perform a parameterized complexity analysis with respect to various graph parameters including treewidth, and problem-specific parameters, including, the numbers of colors and districts. We obtain a rich and diverse, close to complete picture of the corresponding parameterized complexity landscape (that is, a classification along the complexity classes FPT, XP, W[1]-hard, and para-NP-hard).
Published in: Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 10.1007/s10458-022-09594-2, Springer Nature