Vertex cover Problem

For an undirected graph, the vertex cover is a subset of the vertices, where for every edge (u, v) of the graph either u or v is in the set.

Using a binary tree, we can easily solve the vertex cover problem.

This problem can be divided into two sub-problems. When the root is part of the vertex cover. For this case, the root covers all children edges. We can simply find the size of vertex cover for left and right sub-tree, and add 1 for the root.

Input and Output

A binary tree.
The vertex cover is 3.


vertexCover(root node)

In this problem, one binary tree will be formed, each node will hold the data and number of vertices covered by that node.

Input − The root of the binary tree.

Output − The number of vertices covered by root.

   if root is φ, then
      return 0
   if root has no child, then
      return 0
   if vCover(root) ≠ 0, then
      return vCover(root)
   withRoot := 1 + vertexCover(left(root)) + vertexCover(right(root))
   withoutRoot := 0

   if root has left child, then
      withoutRoot := withoutRoot + vertexCover(left(left(root))) + vertexCover(left(right(root)))
   if root has right child, then
      withoutRoot := withoutRoot + vertexCover(right(left(root))) + vertexCover(right(right(root)))
   return vCover(root)


#include <iostream>
#include <algorithm>
using namespace std;

struct node {
   int data;
   int vCover;
   node *left, *right;

node *getNode(int data) {
   node *newNode = new (node);
   newNode->data = data;
   newNode->vCover = 0; //set vertex cover to 0
   newNode->left = NULL;
   newNode->right = NULL;
   return newNode;    //newly created node

int vertexCover(node *root) {
   if(root == NULL)    //when tree is empty
      return 0;
   if(root->left == NULL && root->right == NULL)    //when no other edge from root
      return 0;
   if(root->vCover != 0)   //when vertex cover of this node is found, leave that node
      return root->vCover;
   int sizeWithRoot = 1 + vertexCover(root->left) + vertexCover(root->right);
   int sizeWithOutRoot = 0;
   if(root->left != NULL)   //when root is not included and go for left child
      sizeWithOutRoot += 1 + vertexCover(root->left->left) + vertexCover(root->left->right);
   if(root->right != NULL)    //when root is not included and go for right child
      sizeWithOutRoot += 1 + vertexCover(root->right->left) + vertexCover(root->right->right);
   root->vCover = (sizeWithRoot < sizeWithOutRoot)?sizeWithRoot:sizeWithOutRoot; //minimum vertex cover
   return root->vCover;

int main() {
   //create tree to check vertex cover
   node *root = getNode(20);
   root->left = getNode(8); root->right = getNode(22);
   root->left->left = getNode(4); root->left->right = getNode(12);
   root->left->right->left = getNode(10); root->left->right->right = getNode(14);
   root->right->right = getNode(25);
   cout << "Minimal vertex cover: " << vertexCover(root);


Minimal vertex cover: 3
Samual Sam
Samual Sam

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