Finding Most Compatible Phylogenetic Trees over Multi-State Characters

  • Tuukka Korhonen University of Helsinki
  • Matti J„ärvisalo University of Helsinki


The reconstruction of the evolutionary tree of a set of species based on qualitative attributes is a central problem in phylogenetics. In the NP-hard perfect phylogeny problem the input is a set of taxa (species) and characters (attributes) on them, and the task is to find an evolutionary tree that describes the evolution of the taxa so that each character state evolves only once. However, in practical situations a perfect phylogeny rarely exists, motivating the maximum compatibility problem of finding the largest subset of characters admitting a perfect phylogeny. Various declarative approaches, based on applying integer programming (IP), answer set programming (ASP) and pseudo-Boolean optimization (PBO) solvers, have been proposed for maximum compatibility. In this work we develop a new hybrid approach to solving maximum compatibility for multi-state characters, making use of both declarative optimization techniques (specifically maximum satisfiability, MaxSAT) and an adaptation of the Bouchitt'e-Todinca approach to triangulation-based graph optimization problems. Empirically our approach outperforms in scalability the earlier proposed approaches w.r.t. various parameters underlying the problem.

AAAI Technical Track: Constraint Satisfaction and Optimization