Algorithms for Planar Graphs and Graphs in Metric Spaces


Algorithms for network problems play an increasingly important role in modern society. The graph structure of a network is an abstract and very useful representation that allows classical graph algorithms such as Dijkstra and Bellman-Ford to be applied. Real-life networks often have additional structural properties that can be exploited. For instance, a road network or a wire layout on a microchip is typically (near-) planar and distances in the network are often defined w.r.t. the Euclidean or the rectilinear metric. Specialized algorithms that take advantage of such properties are often orders of magnitude faster than the corresponding algorithms for general graphs.

The first and main part of this thesis focuses on the development of efficient planar graph algorithms. The most important contributions include a faster single-source shortest path algorithm, a distance oracle with subquadratic preprocessing time, an O(n log n) time algorithm for the replacement paths problem, and a min st-cut oracle with near-linear preprocessing time. We also give improved time bounds for computing various graph invariants such as diameter and girth.

In the second part, we consider stretch factor problems for geometric graphs and graphs embedded in metric spaces. Roughly speaking, the stretch factor is a real value expressing how well a (geo-)metric graph approximates the underlying complete graph w.r.t. distances. We give improved algorithms for computing the stretch factor of a given graph and for augmenting a graph with new edges while minimizing stretch factor.

The third and final part of the thesis deals with the Steiner tree problem in the plane equipped with a weighted fixed orientation metric. Here, we give an improved theoretical analysis of the strength of pruning techniques applied by many Steiner tree algorithms. We also present an algorithm that computes a so called Steiner hull, a structure that may help in the computation of a Steiner minimal tree.

Assessment Committee:

Chairman: Associate Professor Pawel Winter (DIKU, University of Copenhagen)
Dr. Leah Eppstein, Department of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Professor Bengt J. Nilsson, Malmö University

Academic supervisors:

Associate Professor, Head of Department Martin Zachariasen (DIKU, University of Copenhagen)

For an electronic copy of the thesis, please contact Jette Møller,, + 45 35 32 14 57.