Award for Best Computer Science Master's thesis in Finland in 2019-2020 to Korhonen

Tuukka Korhonen receives the Finnish Society for Computer Science Master's thesis award for the best computer science Master's thesis in Finland in the academic year 2019-2020.

Tuukka Korhonen receives the annual Master's thesis award of the Finnish Society for Computer Science for his thesis Finding Optimal Tree Decompositions as the best Master's thesis in Finland in the academic year 2019-2020. The thesis work was done in the Constraint Reasoning and Optimization Group at University of Helsinki, and supervised by Professor Matti Järvisalo and Dr. Jeremias Berg.

Abstract of the thesis:

The task of organizing a given graph into a structure called a tree decomposition is relevant in multiple areas of computer science. In particular, many NP-hard problems can be solved in polynomial time if a suitable tree decomposition of a graph describing the problem instance is given as a part of the input. This motivates the task of finding as good tree decompositions as possible, or ideally, optimal tree decompositions.

This thesis is about finding optimal tree decompositions of graphs with respect to several notions of optimality. Each of the considered notions measures the quality of a tree decomposition in the context of an application. In particular, we consider a total of seven problems that are formulated as finding optimal tree decompositions: treewidth, minimum fill-in, generalized and fractional hypertreewidth, total table size, phylogenetic character compatibility, and treelength. For each of these problems we consider the BT algorithm of Bouchitté and Todinca as the method of finding optimal tree decompositions.

The BT algorithm is well-known on the theoretical side, but to our knowledge the first time it was implemented was only recently for the 2nd Parameterized Algorithms and Computational Experiments Challenge (PACE 2017). The author’s implementation of the BT algorithm took the second place in the minimum fill-in track of PACE 2017. In this thesis we review and extend the BT algorithm and our implementation. In particular, we improve the eciency of the algorithm in terms of both theory and practice. We also implement the algorithm for each of the seven problems considered, introducing a novel adaptation of the algorithm for the maximum compatibility problem of phylogenetic characters. Our implementation outperforms alternative state-of-the-art approaches in terms of numbers of test instances solved on well-known benchmarks on minimum fill-in, generalized hypertreewidth, fractional hypertreewidth, total table size, and the maximum compatibility problem of phylogenetic characters. Furthermore, to our understanding the implementation is the first exact approach for the treelength problem.