Computing Maximum Flow with Augmenting Electrical Flows
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We present an Õ (m 7/10 U 1/7)-time algorithm for the maximum s-t flow problem (and the minimum s-t cut problem) in directed graphs with m arcs and largest integer capacity U. This matches the running time of the Õ (mU)10/7)- time algorithm of Madry  in the unit-capacity case, and improves over it, as well as over the Õ (m√n log U)-time algorithm of Lee and Sidford , whenever U is moderately large and the graph is sufficiently sparse. By well-known reductions, this also implies similar running time improvements for the maximum-cardinality bipartite b-matching problem. One of the advantages of our algorithm is that it is significantly simpler than the ones presented in  and . In particular, these algorithms employ a sophisticated interior-point method framework, while our algorithm is cast directly in the classic augmenting path setting that almost all the combinatorial maximum flow algorithms use. At a high level, the presented algorithm takes a primal dual approach in which each iteration uses electrical flows computations both to find an augmenting s-t flow in the current residual graph and to update the dual solution. We show that by maintain certain careful coupling of these primal and dual solutions we are always guaranteed to make significant progress.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
2016 IEEE 57th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Madry, Aleksander. "Computing Maximum Flow with Augmenting Electrical Flows." 2016 IEEE 57th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 9-11 October, 2016, New Brunswick, New Jersery, IEEE, 2016, pp. 593–602.
Author's final manuscript