Alkida Balliu · Juho Hirvonen · Christoph Lenzen · Dennis Olivetti · Jukka Suomela

Locality of not-so-weak coloring

SIROCCO 2019 · 26th International Colloquium on Structural Information and Communication Complexity, L'Aquila, Italy, July 2019 · doi:10.1007/978-3-030-24922-9_3

authors’ version publisher’s version


Many graph problems are locally checkable: a solution is globally feasible if it looks valid in all constant-radius neighborhoods. This idea is formalized in the concept of locally checkable labelings (LCLs), introduced by Naor and Stockmeyer (1995). Recently, Chang et al. (2016) showed that in bounded-degree graphs, every LCL problem belongs to one of the following classes:

  • “Easy”: solvable in $O(\log^* n)$ rounds with both deterministic and randomized distributed algorithms.
  • “Hard”: requires at least $\Omega(\log n)$ rounds with deterministic and $\Omega(\log \log n)$ rounds with randomized distributed algorithms.

Hence for any parameterized LCL problem, when we move from local problems towards global problems, there is some point at which complexity suddenly jumps from easy to hard. For example, for vertex coloring in $d$-regular graphs it is now known that this jump is at precisely $d$ colors: coloring with $d+1$ colors is easy, while coloring with $d$ colors is hard.

However, it is currently poorly understood where this jump takes place when one looks at defective colorings. To study this question, we define $k$-partial $c$-coloring as follows: nodes are labeled with numbers between $1$ and $c$, and every node is incident to at least $k$ properly colored edges.

It is known that $1$-partial $2$-coloring (a.k.a. weak $2$-coloring) is easy for any $d \ge 1$. As our main result, we show that $k$-partial $2$-coloring becomes hard as soon as $k \ge 2$, no matter how large a $d$ we have.

We also show that this is fundamentally different from $k$-partial $3$-coloring: no matter which $k \ge 3$ we choose, the problem is always hard for $d = k$ but it becomes easy when $d \gg k$. The same was known previously for partial $c$-coloring with $c \ge 4$, but the case of $c < 4$ was open.


Keren Censor-Hillel and Michele Flammini (Eds.): Structural Information and Communication Complexity, 26th International Colloquium, SIROCCO 2019, L'Aquila, Italy, July 1–4, 2019, Proceedings, volume 11639 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 37–51, Springer, Berlin, 2019

ISBN 978-3-030-24921-2

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