
Magnus Bordewich and
Charles Semple. Budgeted Nature Reserve Selection with diversity feature loss and arbitrary split systems. In JOMB, Vol. 64(1):6985, 2012. Keywords: abstract network, approximation, diversity, phylogenetic network, polynomial, split network. Note: http://www.math.canterbury.ac.nz/~c.semple/papers/BS11.pdf.
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"Arising in the context of biodiversity conservation, the Budgeted Nature Reserve Selection (BNRS) problem is to select, subject to budgetary constraints, a set of regions to conserve so that the phylogenetic diversity (PD) of the set of species contained within those regions is maximized. Here PD is measured across either a single rooted tree or a single unrooted tree. Nevertheless, in both settings, this problem is NPhard. However, it was recently shown that, for each setting, there is a polynomialtime (11/e)approximation algorithm for it and that this algorithm is tight. In the first part of the paper, we consider two extensions of BNRS. In the rooted setting we additionally allow for the disappearance of features, for varying survival probabilities across species, and for PD to be measured across multiple trees. In the unrooted setting, we extend to arbitrary split systems. We show that, despite these additional allowances, there remains a polynomialtime (11/e)approximation algorithm for each extension. In the second part of the paper, we resolve a complexity problem on computing PD across an arbitrary split system left open by Spillner et al. © 2011 SpringerVerlag."



Steven Kelk,
Leo van Iersel,
Nela Lekic,
Simone Linz,
Celine Scornavacca and
Leen Stougie. Cycle killer... qu'estce que c'est? On the comparative approximability of hybridization number and directed feedback vertex set. In SIDMA, Vol. 26(4):16351656, 2012. Keywords: agreement forest, approximation, explicit network, from rooted trees, minimum number, phylogenetic network, phylogeny, Program CycleKiller, reconstruction. Note: http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.5359, about the title.
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"We show that the problem of computing the hybridization number of two rooted binary phylogenetic trees on the same set of taxa X has a constant factor polynomialtime approximation if and only if the problem of computing a minimumsize feedback vertex set in a directed graph (DFVS) has a constant factor polynomialtime approximation. The latter problem, which asks for a minimum number of vertices to be removed from a directed graph to transform it into a directed acyclic graph, is one of the problems in Karp's seminal 1972 list of 21 NPcomplete problems. Despite considerable attention from the combinatorial optimization community, it remains to this day unknown whether a constant factor polynomialtime approximation exists for DFVS. Our result thus places the (in)approximability of hybridization number in a much broader complexity context, and as a consequence we obtain that it inherits inapproximability results from the problem Vertex Cover. On the positive side, we use results from the DFVS literature to give an O(log r log log r) approximation for the hybridization number where r is the correct value. Copyright © by SIAM."



Leo van Iersel,
Steven Kelk,
Nela Lekic and
Celine Scornavacca. A practical approximation algorithm for solving massive instances of hybridization number. In WABI12, Vol. 7534(430440) of LNCS, springer, 2012. Keywords: agreement forest, approximation, explicit network, from rooted trees, hybridization, phylogenetic network, phylogeny, Program CycleKiller, Program Dendroscope, Program HybridNET, reconstruction, software. Note: http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.3417.
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"Reticulate events play an important role in determining evolutionary relationships. The problem of computing the minimum number of such events to explain discordance between two phylogenetic trees is a hard computational problem. In practice, exact solvers struggle to solve instances with reticulation number larger than 40. For such instances, one has to resort to heuristics and approximation algorithms. Here we present the algorithm CycleKiller which is the first approximation algorithm that can produce solutions verifiably close to optimality for instances with hundreds or even thousands of reticulations. Theoretically, the algorithm is an exponentialtime 2approximation (or 4approximation in its fastest mode). However, using simulations we demonstrate that in practice the algorithm runs quickly for large and difficult instances, producing solutions within one percent of optimality. An implementation of this algorithm, which extends the theoretical work of [14], has been made publicly available. © 2012 SpringerVerlag."


