Cops and Robbers on Multi-Layer Graphs

by   Jessica Enright, et al.

We generalise the popular cops and robbers game to multi-layer graphs, where each cop and the robber are restricted to a single layer (or set of edges). We show that initial intuition about the best way to allocate cops to layers is not always correct, and prove that the multi-layer cop number is neither bounded from above nor below by any function of the cop numbers of the individual layers. We determine that it is NP-hard to decide if k cops are sufficient to catch the robber, even if all cop layers are trees. However, we give a polynomial time algorithm to determine if k cops can win when the robber layer is a tree. Additionally, we investigate a question of worst-case division of a simple graph into layers: given a simple graph G, what is the maximum number of cops required to catch a robber over all multi-layer graphs where each edge of G is in at least one layer and all layers are connected? For cliques, suitably dense random graphs, and graphs of bounded treewidth, we determine this parameter up to multiplicative constants. Lastly we consider a multi-layer variant of Meyniel's Conjecture, and show the existence of an infinite family of graphs whose multi-layer cop number is bounded from below by a constant times n / log n, where n is the number of vertices in the graph.


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