A Combinatorial Problem Arising From Ecology: the Maximum Empower Problem [article]

Chams Lahlou, Laurent Truffet
2018 arXiv   pre-print
The ecologist H. T. Odum introduced a principle of physics, called Maximum Empower, in order to explain self-organization in a system (e.g. physical, biological, social, economical, mathematical, ...). The concept of empower relies on emergy, which is a second notion introduced by Odum for comparing energy systems on the same basis. The roots of these notions trace back to the 50's (with the work of H. T. Odum and R. C. Pinkerton) and is becoming now an important sustainability indicator in the
more » ... ecologist community. In 2012, Le Corre and Truffet developed a recursive method, based on max-plus algebra, to compute emergy of a system. Recently, using this max-plus algebra approach, it has been shown that the Maximum Empower Principle can be formalized as a new combinatorial optimization problem (called the Maximum Empower Problem). In this paper we show that the Maximum Empower Problem can be solved by finding a maximum weighted clique in a cograph, which leads to an exponential-time algorithm in the worst-case. We also provide a polynomial-time algorithm when there is no cycle in the graph modeling the system. Finally, we prove that the Maximum Empower Problem is #P-hard in the general case, i.e. it is as hard as computing the permanent of a matrix.
arXiv:1802.05974v1 fatcat:znnpmsjlc5bnvfnm6nwtzhxleu