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# Meike Hatzel, Fixed-Parameter Tractability of Directed Multicut with Three Terminal Pairs Parametrised by the Size of the Cutset: Twin-Width Meets Flow-Augmentation

## February 21 Tuesday @ 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM KST

We show fixed-parameter tractability of the Directed Multicut problem with three terminal pairs (with a randomized algorithm). This problem, given a directed graph $G$, pairs of vertices (called *terminals*) $(s_1,t_1)$, $(s_2,t_2)$, and $(s_3,t_3)$, and an integer $k$, asks to find a set of at most $k$ non-terminal vertices in $G$ that intersect all $s_1t_1$-paths, all $s_2t_2$-paths, and all $s_3t_3$-paths. The parameterized complexity of this case has been open since Chitnis, Cygan, Hajiaghayi, and Marx proved fixed-parameter tractability of the 2-terminal-pairs case at SODA 2012, and Pilipczuk and Wahlström proved the W[1]-hardness of the 4-terminal-pairs case at SODA 2016.

On the technical side, we use two recent developments in parameterized algorithms. Using the technique of *directed flow-augmentation* [Kim, Kratsch, Pilipczuk, Wahlström, STOC 2022] we cast the problem as a CSP problem with few variables and constraints over a large ordered domain. We observe that this problem can be in turn encoded as an FO model-checking task over a structure consisting of a few 0-1 matrices. We look at this problem through the lenses of twin-width, a recently introduced structural parameter [Bonnet, Kim, Thomassé, Watrigant, FOCS 2020]: By a recent characterization [Bonnet, Giocanti, Ossona de Mendez, Simon, Thomassé, Toruńczyk, STOC 2022] the said FO model-checking task can be done in FPT time if the said matrices have bounded grid rank. To complete the proof, we show an irrelevant vertex rule: If any of the matrices in the said encoding has a large grid minor, a vertex corresponding to the “middle” box in the grid minor can be proclaimed irrelevant — not contained in the sought solution — and thus reduced.