Streaming algorithms for estimating the matching size in planar graphs and beyond
We consider the problem of estimating the size of a maximum matching when the edges are revealed in a streaming fashion. When the input graph is planar, we present a simple and elegant streaming algorithm that with high probability estimates the size of a maximum matching within a constant factor using O (n2/3) space, where n is the number of vertices. The approach generalizes to the family of graphs that have bounded arboricity, which include graphs with an excluded constant-size minor. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first result for estimating the size of a maximum matching in the adversarial-order streaming model (as opposed to the random-order streaming model) in o (n) space. We circumvent the barriers inherent in the adversarial-order model by exploiting several structural properties of planar graphs, and more generally, graphs with bounded arboricity. We further reduce the required memory size to O (√n) for three restricted settings: (i) when the input graph is a forest; (ii) when we have 2-passes and the input graph has bounded arboricity; and (iii) when the edges arrive in random order and the input graph has bounded arboricity. Finally, we design a reduction from the Boolean Hidden Matching Problem to show that there is no randomized streaming algorithm that estimates the size of the maximum matching to within a factor better than 3/2 and uses only o (n1/2) bits of space. Using the same reduction, we show that there is no deterministic algorithm that computes this kind of estimate in o (n) bits of space. The lower bounds hold even for graphs that are collections of paths of constant length.