Approximation algorithms and hardness results for cycle packing problems

Michael Krivelevich, Zeev Nutov, Mohammad R. Salavatipour, Jacques Verstraete Yuster, Raphael Yuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cycle packing number v e(G) of a graph G is the maximum number of pairwise edgedisjointcycles in G. Computing v e(G) is an NP-hard problem.We present approximation algorithms for computing v e(G) in both undirected and directed graphs. In the undirected case we analyze a variant of the modified greedy algorithm suggested by Caprara et al. [2003] and showthat it has approximation ratio Θ(√log n), where n = |V(G)|. This improves upon the previous O(log n) upper bound for the approximation ratio of this algorithm. In the directed case we present √n-approximation algorithm. Finally, we give an O(n 2/3)- approximation algorithm for the problem of finding a maximum number of edge-disjoint cycles that intersect a specified subset S of vertices.We also study generalizations of these problems. Our approximation ratios are the currently best-known ones and, in addition, provide upper bounds on the integrality gap of standard LP-relaxations of these problems. In addition, we give ower bounds for the integrality gap and approximability of v e(G) in directed graphs. Specifically, we prove a lower bound of Ω( log n log log n) for the integrality gap of edge-disjoint cycle packing. We also show that it is quasi-NP-hard to approximate v e(G) within a factor of O(log 1-ε n) for any constant ε > 0. This improves upon the previously known APX-hardness result for this problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1290685
JournalACM Transactions on Algorithms
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • Approximation algorithms
  • Cycle packing
  • Edge-disjoint
  • Hardness of approximation
  • Integrality gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)


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