Phylogenetic incongruence through the lens of Monadic Second Order logic
Vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 189-215, 2016. Regular paper.
Abstract Within the field of phylogenetics there is growing interest in measures for summarising the dissimilarity, or incongruence, of two or more phylogenetic trees. Many of these measures are NP-hard to compute and this has stimulated a considerable volume of research into fixed parameter tractable algorithms. In this article we use Monadic Second Order logic to give alternative, compact proofs of fixed parameter tractability for several well-known incongruence measures. In doing so we wish to demonstrate the considerable potential of MSOL - machinery still largely unknown outside the algorithmic graph theory community - within phylogenetics. A crucial component of this work is the observation that many measures, when bounded, imply the existence of an agreement forest of bounded size, which in turn implies that an auxiliary graph structure, the display graph, has bounded treewidth. It is this bound on treewidth that makes the machinery of MSOL available for proving fixed parameter tractability.
Submitted: August 2015.
Reviewed: December 2015.
Revised: January 2016.
Accepted: February 2016.
Final: February 2016.
Published: February 2016.
Communicated by Giuseppe Liotta
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