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Physics & Computer Science


The k-partition problem is as follows: Given a graph G and a positive integer k, partition the vertices of G into at most k parts A1, A2, . . . , Ak, where it may be specified that Ai induces a stable set, a clique, or an arbitrary subgraph, and pairs Ai, Aj (ij) be completely nonadjacent, completely adjacent, or arbitrarily adjacent. The list k-partition problem generalizes the k-partition problem by specifying for each vertex x, a list L(x) of parts in which it is allowed to be placed. Many well-known graph problems can be formulated as list k-partition problems: e.g., 3-colorability, clique cutset, stable cutset, homogeneous set, skew partition, and 2-clique cutset. We classify, with the exception of two polynomially equivalent problems, each list 4-partition problem as either solvable in polynomial time or NP-complete. In doing so, we provide polynomial-time algorithms for many problems whose polynomial-time solvability was open, including the list 2-clique cutset problem. This also allows us to classify each list generalized 2-clique cutset problem and list generalized skew partition problem as solvable in polynomial time or NP-complete.


This article was originally published in SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics, 21(4): 900-929. © 2007 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics