Kernelization lower bounds by cross-composition

H.L. Bodlaender, B.M.P. Jansen, S. Kratsch

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We introduce the cross-composition framework for proving kernelization lower bounds. A classical problem L AND/OR-cross-composes into a parameterized problem Q if it is possible to efficiently construct an instance of Q with polynomially bounded parameter value that expresses the logical AND or OR of a sequence of instances of L. Building on work by Bodlaender et al. (ICALP 2008) and using a result by Fortnow and Santhanam (STOC 2008) with a refinement by Dell and van Melkebeek (STOC 2010), we show that if an NP-hard problem OR-cross-composes into a parameterized problem Q then Q does not admit a polynomial kernel unless NP \subseteq coNP/poly and the polynomial hierarchy collapses. Similarly, an AND-cross-composition for Q rules out polynomial kernels for Q under Bodlaender et al.'s AND-distillation conjecture. Our technique generalizes and strengthens the recent techniques of using composition algorithms and of transferring the lower bounds via polynomial parameter transformations. We show its applicability by proving kernelization lower bounds for a number of important graphs problems with structural (non-standard) parameterizations, e.g., Clique, Chromatic Number, Weighted Feedback Vertex Set, and Weighted Odd Cycle Transversal do not admit polynomial kernels with respect to the vertex cover number of the input graphs unless the polynomial hierarchy collapses, contrasting the fact that these problems are trivially fixed-parameter tractable for this parameter. After learning of our results, several teams of authors have successfully applied the cross-composition framework to different parameterized problems. For completeness, our presentation of the framework includes several extensions based on this follow-up work. For example, we show how a relaxed version of OR-cross-compositions may be used to give lower bounds on the degree of the polynomial in the kernel size.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1206:5941V1 [cs.CC]
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

A preliminary version appeared in the proceedings of the 28th International Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science (STACS 2011) under the title "Cross-Composition: A New Technique for Kernelization Lower Bounds". Several results have been strengthened compared to the preliminary version ( 29 pages, 2 figures


  • cs.CC
  • cs.DS


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