# Streaming algorithms for estimating the matching size in planar graphs and beyond

## Abstract

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 Õ(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 Õ(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.