AAAI Publications, Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Rigging Nearly Acyclic Tournaments Is Fixed-Parameter Tractable
M. S. Ramanujan, Stefan Szeider

Last modified: 2017-02-12


Single-elimination tournaments (or knockout tournaments) are a popular format in sports competitions that is also widely used for decision making and elections. In this paper we study the algorithmic problem of manipulating the outcome of a tournament. More specifically, we study the problem of finding a seeding of the players such that a certain player wins the resulting tournament. The problem is known to be NP-hard in general. In this paper we present an algorithm for this problem that exploits structural restrictions on the tournament. More specifically, we establish that the problem is fixed-parameter tractable when parameterized by the size of a smallest feedback arc set of the tournament (interpreting the tournament as an oriented complete graph). This is a natural parameter because most problems on tournaments (including this one) are either trivial or easily solvable on acyclic tournaments, leading to the question — what about nearly acyclic tournaments or tournaments with a small feedback arc set? Our result significantly improves upon a recent algorithm by Aziz et al. (2014) whose running time is bounded by an exponential function where the size of a smallest feedback arc set appears in the exponent and the base is the number of players.


Tournament Fixing; Agenda Control; Fixed Parameter Tractability

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