Packing Arc-Disjoint Cycles in Tournaments

Stéphane Bessy, Marin Bougeret, R. Krithika, Abhishek Sahu, Saket Saurabh, Jocelyn Thiebaut, Meirav Zehavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A tournament is a directed graph in which there is a single arc between every pair of distinct vertices. Given a tournament T on n vertices, we explore the classical and parameterized complexity of the problems of determining if T has a cycle packing (a set of pairwise arc-disjoint cycles) of size k and a triangle packing (a set of pairwise arc-disjoint triangles) of size k. We refer to these problems as Arc-disjoint Cycles in Tournaments (ACT) and Arc-disjoint Triangles in Tournaments (ATT), respectively. Although the maximization version of ACT can be seen as the dual of the well-studied problem of finding a minimum feedback arc set (a set of arcs whose deletion results in an acyclic graph) in tournaments, surprisingly no algorithmic results seem to exist for ACT. We first show that ACT and ATT are both NP-complete. Then, we show that the problem of determining if a tournament has a cycle packing and a feedback arc set of the same size is NP-complete. Next, we prove that ACT is fixed-parameter tractable via a 2 O(klogk)nO(1)-time algorithm and admits a kernel with O(k) vertices. Then, we show that ATT too has a kernel with O(k) vertices and can be solved in 2 O(k)nO(1) time. Afterwards, we describe polynomial-time algorithms for ACT and ATT when the input tournament has a feedback arc set that is a matching. We also prove that ACT and ATT cannot be solved in 2o(n)nO(1) time under the exponential-time hypothesis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1393-1420
Number of pages28
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • Arc-Disjoint Cycle Packing
  • Kernelization
  • Parameterized algorithms
  • Tournaments

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications


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