# Parameterized Approximation Algorithms for Bidirected Steiner Network Problems

The Directed Steiner Network (DSN) problem takes as input a directed edge-weighted graph $G=(V,E)$ and a set $\mathcal{D}\subseteq V\times V$ of $k$ demand pairs. The aim is to compute the cheapest network $N\subseteq G$ for which there is an $s\to t$ path for each $(s,t)\in\mathcal{D}$. It is known that this problem is notoriously hard as there is no $k^{1/4-o(1)}$-approximation algorithm under Gap-ETH, even when parametrizing the runtime by $k$ [Dinur & Manurangsi, ITCS 2018]. In light of this, we systematically study several special cases of DSN and determine their parameterized approximability for the parameter $k$. For the bi-DSN$_\text{Planar}$ problem, the aim is to compute a solution $N\subseteq G$ whose cost is at most that of an optimum planar solution in a bidirected graph $G$, i.e., for every edge $uv$ of $G$ the reverse edge $vu$ exists and has the same weight. This problem is a generalization of several well-studied special cases. Our main result is that this problem admits a parameterized approximation scheme (PAS) for $k$. We also prove that our result is tight in the sense that (a) the runtime of our PAS cannot be significantly improved, and (b) it is unlikely that a PAS exists for any generalization of bi-DSN$_\text{Planar}$, unless FPT=W[1]. One important special case of DSN is the Strongly Connected Steiner Subgraph (SCSS) problem, for which the solution network $N\subseteq G$ needs to strongly connect a given set of $k$ terminals. It has been observed before that for SCSS a parameterized $2$-approximation exists when parameterized by $k$ [Chitnis et al., IPEC 2013]. We give a tight inapproximability result by showing that for $k$ no parameterized $(2-\varepsilon)$-approximation algorithm exists under Gap-ETH. Additionally we show that when restricting the input of SCSS to bidirected graphs, the problem remains NP-hard but becomes FPT for $k$.

PDF Abstract