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Conference Papers Year : 2013

A Trichotomy for Regular Simple Path Queries on Graphs


Regular path queries (RPQs) select nodes connected by some path in a graph. The edge labels of such a path have to form a word that matches a given regular expression. We investigate the evaluation of RPQs with an additional constraint that prevents multiple traversals of the same nodes. Those regular simple path queries (RSPQs) find several applications in practice, yet they quickly become intractable, even for basic languages such as (aa)* or a*ba*. In this paper, we establish a comprehensive classification of regular languages with respect to the complexity of the corresponding regular simple path query problem. More precisely, we identify the fragment that is maximal in the following sense: regular simple path queries can be evaluated in polynomial time for every regular language L that belongs to this fragment and evaluation is NP-complete for languages outside this fragment. We thus fully characterize the frontier between tractability and intractability for RSPQs, and we refine our results to show the following trichotomy: Evaluations of RSPQs is either AC0, NL-complete or NP-complete in data complexity, depending on the regular language L. The fragment identified also admits a simple characterization in terms of regular expressions. Finally, we also discuss the complexity of the following decision problem: decide, given a language L, whether finding a regular simple path for L is tractable. We consider several alternative representations of L: DFAs, NFAs or regular expressions, and prove that this problem is NL-complete for the first representation and PSPACE-complete for the other two. As a conclusion we extend our results from edge-labeled graphs to vertex-labeled graphs and vertex-edge labeled graphs.

Dates and versions

hal-00806448 , version 1 (31-03-2013)



Guillaume Bagan, Angela Bonifati, Benoit Groz. A Trichotomy for Regular Simple Path Queries on Graphs. ACM PODS, Jun 2013, New York, United States. pp.261-272. ⟨hal-00806448⟩
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