Recognizing Single-Peaked Preferences on an Arbitrary Graph: Complexity and Algorithms

Bruno Escoffier, Olivier Spanjaard, Magdaléna Tydrichová

This paper is devoted to a study of single-peakedness on arbitrary graphs. Given a collection of preferences (rankings of a set of alternatives), we aim at determining a connected graph G on which the preferences are single-peaked, in the sense that all the preferences are traversals of G. Note that a collection of preferences is always single-peaked on the complete graph. We propose an Integer Linear Programming formulation (ILP) of the problem of minimizing the number of edges in G or the maximum degree of a vertex in G. We prove that both problems are NP-hard in the general case. However, we show that if the optimal number of edges is m-1 (where m is the number of candidates) then any optimal solution of the ILP is integer and thus the integrality constraints can be relaxed. This provides an alternative proof of the polynomial-time complexity of recognizing single-peaked preferences on a tree. We prove the same result for the case of a path (an axis), providing here also an alternative proof of polynomiality of the recognition problem. Furthermore, we provide a polynomial-time procedure to recognize single-peaked preferences on a pseudotree (a connected graph that contains at most one cycle). We also give some experimental results, both on real and synthetic datasets.

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