Group for Research in Decision Analysis


Variable Space Search for Graph Coloring

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Let G = (V,E) be a graph with vertex set V and edge set E. The k-coloring problem is to assign a color (a number chosen in {1,..., k}) to each vertex of G so that no edge has both endpoints with the same color. We propose a new local search methodology, called Variable Space Search, which we apply to the k-coloring problem. The main idea is to consider several search spaces, with various neighborhoods and objective functions, and to move from one to another when the search is blocked at a local optimum in a given search space. The k-coloring problem is thus solved by combining different formulations of the problem which are not equivalent, in the sense that some constraints are possibly relaxed in one search space and always satisfied in another. We show that the proposed algorithm improves on every local search used independently (i.e., with a unique search space), and is competitive with the currently best coloring methods, which are complex hybrid evolutionary algorithms.

, 23 pages