Complexity and Algorithms for ISOMETRIC PATH COVER on Chordal Graphs and Beyond
A path is isometric if it is a shortest path between its endpoints. In this article, we consider the graph covering problem Isometric Path Cover, where we want to cover all the vertices of the graph using a minimum-size set of isometric paths. Although this problem has been considered from a structural point of view (in particular, regarding applications to pursuit-evasion games), it is little studied from the algorithmic perspective. We consider Isometric Path Cover on chordal graphs, and show
... that the problem is NP-hard for this class. On the positive side, for chordal graphs, we design a 4-approximation algorithm and an FPT algorithm for the parameter solution size. The approximation algorithm is based on a reduction to the classic path covering problem on a suitable directed acyclic graph obtained from a breadth first search traversal of the graph. The approximation ratio of our algorithm is 3 for interval graphs and 2 for proper interval graphs. Moreover, we extend the analysis of our approximation algorithm to k-chordal graphs (graphs whose induced cycles have length at most k) by showing that it has an approximation ratio of k+7 for such graphs, and to graphs of treelength at most 𝓁, where the approximation ratio is at most 6𝓁+2.