Mathematical Programming Computation, Volume 4, Issue 4, December 2012

Maximum-weight stable sets and safe lower bounds for graph coloring

Stephan Held, William Cook, Edward C. Sewell

The best method known for determining lower bounds on the vertex coloring number of a graph is the linear-programming column-generation technique, where variables correspond to stable sets, first employed by Mehrotra and Trick in 1996. We present an implementation of the method that provides numerically-safe results, independent of the floating-point accuracy of linear-programming software. Our work includes an improved branch-and-bound algorithm for maximum-weight stable sets and a parallel branch-and-price framework for graph coloring. Computational results are presented on a collection of standard test instances, including the unsolved challenge problems created by David S. Johnson in 1989.

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