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Shortest Paths Revisited, NP-Complete Problems and What To Do About Them Week 1 Quiz Answer

Shortest Paths Revisited, NP-Complete Problems and What To Do About Them Week 1 Quiz Answer


Shortest Paths Revisited, NP-Complete Problems and What To Do About Them 

Week 1 Quiz Answer


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Problem Set #1



Question 1)

Consider a directed graph with real-valued edge lengths and no negative-cost cycles. Let s be a source vertex. Assume that there is a unique shortest path from s to every other vertex. What can you say about the subgraph of G that you get by taking the union of these shortest paths? [Pick the strongest statement that is guaranteed to be true.]

  • It is a tree, with all edges directed away from s.
  • It has no strongly connected component with more than one vertex.
  • It is a directed acyclic subgraph in which s has no incoming arcs.
  • It is a path, directed away from s.

Question 2)

Consider the following optimization to the Bellman-Ford algorithm. Given a graph G = (V, E) with real-valued edge lengths, we label the vertices V = {1,2,3,…,n}. The source vertex s should be labeled “1”, but the rest of the labeling can be arbitrary. Call an edge (u, v) Є E forwardif u <v and backward if u > v. In every odd iteration of the outer loop (i.e., when i = 1,3,5, …), we visit the vertices in the order from 1 to n. In every even iteration of the outer loop (when i = 2, 4, 6, …), we visit the vertices in the order from n to 1. In every odd iteration, we update the value of A[i, v] using only the forward edges of the form (w,v), using the most recent subproblem value for w (that from the current iteration rather than the previous one). That is, we compute A[i,v] = min{[Ai – 1,v], min(w,y) A[i, w] + Cwv}, where the inner minimum ranges only over forward edges sticking into v i.e., with w< v). Note that all relevant subproblems from the current round (Ali, w for all w < v with (w,v) Є E) are available for constant-time lookup. In even iterations, we compute this same recurrence using only the backward edges (again, all relevant subproblems from the current round are available for constant-time lookup). Which of the following is true about this modified Bellman-Ford algorithm?


  • It correctly computes shortest paths if and only if the input graph has no negative edges.
  • It correctly computes shortest paths if and only if the input graph has no negative-cost cycle.
  • It correctly computes shortest paths if and only if the input graph is a directed acyclic graph.
  • This algorithm has an asymptotically superior running time to the original Bellman-Ford algorithm.

Question 3)

Consider a directed graph with real-valued edge lengths and no negative-cost cycles. Let s be a source vertex. Assume that each shortest path from s to another vertex has at most k edges. How fast can you solve the single-source shortest path problem? (As usual, n and m denote the number of vertices and edges, respectively.) [Pick the strongest statement that is guaranteed to be true.]

  • 0(mn) 
  • 0(kn) 
  • 0(m+n)
  • 0(km)

Question 4)

Consider a directed graph in which every edge has length 1. Suppose we run the Floyd-Warshall algorithm with the following modification: instead of using the recurrence A[i,j,k] = min{A[i,j,k-1], A[i,k,k-1] + A[k,j,k-1]}, we use the recurrence A[i,j,k] = A[i,j,k-1] + A[i,k,k-1] * A[k,j,k-1]. For the base case, set A[i,j,0] = 1 if (i,j) is an edge and 0 otherwise. What does this modified algorithm compute — specifically, what is A[i,j,n] at the conclusion of the algorithm?

  • The length of a longest path from i to j.
  • The number of simple (i.e., cycle-free) paths from i to j.
  • The number of shortest paths from i to j.
  • None of the other answers are correct.


Question 5)

Suppose we run the Floyd-Warshall algorithm on a directed graph G = (V, E) in which every edge’s length is either -1,0, or 1. Suppose further that G is strongly connected, with at least one u-v path for every pair u, v of vertices. The graph G may or may not have a negative-cost cycle. How large can the final entries A[ij,n] be, in absolute value? Choose the smallest number that is guaranteed to be a valid upper bound. (As usual, n denotes V.) [WARNING: for this question, make sure you refer to the implementation of the Floyd-Warshall algorithm given in lecture, rather than to some alternative source.]


  • N2
  • 2n
  • N – 1
  • +∞