Orienting Fully Dynamic Graphs with Worst-Case Time Bounds

Tsvi Kopelowitz, Robert Krauthgamer, Ely Porat, Shay Solomon

In edge orientations, the goal is usually to orient (direct) the edges of an undirected $n$-vertex graph $G$ such that all out-degrees are bounded. When the graph $G$ is fully dynamic, i.e., admits edge insertions and deletions, we wish to maintain such an orientation while keeping a tab on the update time. Low out-degree orientations turned out to be a surprisingly useful tool, with several algorithmic applications involving static or dynamic graphs. Brodal and Fagerberg (1999) initiated the study of the edge orientation problem in terms of the graph's arboricity, which is very natural in this context. They provided a solution with constant out-degree and \emph{amortized} logarithmic update time for all graphs with constant arboricity, which include all planar and excluded-minor graphs. However, it remained an open question (first proposed by Brodal and Fagerberg, later by others) to obtain similar bounds with worst-case update time. We resolve this 15 year old question in the affirmative, by providing a simple algorithm with worst-case bounds that nearly match the previous amortized bounds. Our algorithm is based on a new approach of a combinatorial invariant, and achieves a logarithmic out-degree with logarithmic worst-case update times. This result has applications in various dynamic graph problems such as maintaining a maximal matching, where we obtain $O(\log n)$ worst-case update time compared to the $O(\frac{\log n}{\log\log n})$ amortized update time of Neiman and Solomon (2013).

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