Min-max graph partitioning and small set expansion

N. Bansal, U. Feige, R. Krauthgamer, K. Makarychev, V. Nagarajan, J. Naor, R. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


We study graph partitioning problems from a min-max perspective, in which an input graph on $n$ vertices should be partitioned into $k$ parts, and the objective is to minimize the maximum number of edges leaving a single part. The two main versions we consider are where the $k$ parts need to be of equal size, and where they must separate a set of $k$ given terminals. We consider a common generalization of these two problems, and design for it an $O(\sqrt{\log n\log k})$ approximation algorithm. This improves over an $O(\log^2 n)$ approximation for the second version due to Svitkina and Tardos [Min-max multiway cut, in APPROX-RANDOM, 2004, Springer, Berlin, 2004], and roughly $O(k\log n)$ approximation for the first version that follows from other previous work. We also give an $O(1)$ approximation algorithm for graphs that exclude any fixed minor. Our algorithm uses a new procedure for solving the small-set expansion problem. In this problem, we are given a graph $G$ and the goal is to find a nonempty set $S\subseteq V$ of size $|S| \leq \rho n$ with minimum edge expansion. We give an $O(\sqrt{\log{n}\log{(1/\rho)}})$ bicriteria approximation algorithm for small-set expansion in general graphs, and an improved factor of $O(1)$ for graphs that exclude any fixed minor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-904
Number of pages33
JournalSIAM Journal on Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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