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Durham University

Computer Science


Publication details for Dr George Mertzios

Akrida, Eleni C. Mertzios, George B., Nikoletseas, Sotiris, Christoforos, Raptopoulos,, Spirakis, Paul G. & Zamaraev, Viktor (2019), How fast can we reach a target vertex in stochastic temporal graphs?, in Baier, Christel Chatzigiannakis, Ioannis Flocchini, Paola & Leonardi, Stefano eds, Leibniz International Proceedings inInformatics (LIPIcs) 132: 46th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2019). Patras, Greece, Dagstuhl Publishing, Dagstuhl, Germany, 131:1--131:14.

Author(s) from Durham


Temporal graphs are used to abstractly model real-life networks that are inherently dynamic in nature, in the sense that the network structure undergoes discrete changes over time. Given a static underlying graph G=(V,E), a temporal graph on G is a sequence of snapshots {G_t=(V,E_t) subseteq G: t in N}, one for each time step t >= 1. In this paper we study stochastic temporal graphs, i.e. stochastic processes G={G_t subseteq G: t in N} whose random variables are the snapshots of a temporal graph on G. A natural feature of stochastic temporal graphs which can be observed in various real-life scenarios is a memory effect in the appearance probabilities of particular edges; that is, the probability an edge e in E appears at time step t depends on its appearance (or absence) at the previous k steps. In this paper we study the hierarchy of models memory-k, k >= 0, which address this memory effect in an edge-centric network evolution: every edge of G has its own probability distribution for its appearance over time, independently of all other edges. Clearly, for every k >= 1, memory-(k-1) is a special case of memory-k. However, in this paper we make a clear distinction between the values k=0 ("no memory") and k >= 1 ("some memory"), as in some cases these models exhibit a fundamentally different computational behavior for these values of k, as our results indicate. For every k >= 0 we investigate the computational complexity of two naturally related, but fundamentally different, temporal path (or journey) problems: {Minimum Arrival} and {Best Policy}. In the first problem we are looking for the expected arrival time of a foremost journey between two designated vertices {s},{y}. In the second one we are looking for the expected arrival time of the best policy for actually choosing a particular {s}-{y} journey. We present a detailed investigation of the computational landscape of both problems for the different values of memory k. Among other results we prove that, surprisingly, {Minimum Arrival} is strictly harder than {Best Policy}; in fact, for k=0, {Minimum Arrival} is #P-hard while {Best Policy} is solvable in O(n^2) time.