The Recursive Largest First (RLF) algorithm is one of the most popular greedy heuristics for the vertex coloring problem.
It sequentially builds color classes on the basis of greedy choices. In particular the first vertex placed in a color class
\(C\) is one with a maximum number of uncolored neighbors, and the next vertices placed in
\(C\) are chosen so that they have as many uncolored neighbors which cannot be placed in
\(C\). These greedy choices can have a significant impact on the performance of the algorithm, which explains why we propose alternative selection rules. Computational experiments on 63 difficult DIMACS instances show that the resulting new RLF-like algorithm, when compared with the standard RLF, allows to obtain a reduction of more than 50% of the gap between the number of colors used and the best known upper bound on the chromatic number. The new greedy algorithm even competes with basic metaheuristics for the vertex coloring problem.
Published April 2014 , 13 pages