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Using Max Cut to Enhance Rooted Trees Consistency

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2 Author(s)
Snir, S. ; Dept. of Math., California Univ., Berkeley, CA ; Rao, S.

Supertree methods are used to construct a large tree over a large set of taxa from a set of small trees over overlapping subsets of the complete taxa set. Since accurate reconstruction methods are currently limited to a maximum of a few dozen taxa, the use of a supertree method in order to construct the tree of life is inevitable. Supertree methods are broadly divided according to the input trees: When the input trees are unrooted, the basic reconstruction unit is a quartet tree. In this case, the basic decision problem of whether there exists a tree that agrees with all quartets is NP-complete. On the other hand, when the input trees are rooted, the basic reconstruction unit is a rooted triplet and the above decision problem has a polynomial time algorithm. However, when there is no tree which agrees with all triplets, it would be desirable to find the tree that agrees with the maximum number of triplets. However, this optimization problem was shown to be NP-hard. Current heuristic approaches perform min cut on a graph representing the triplets inconsistency and return a tree that is guaranteed to satisfy some required properties. In this work, we present a different heuristic approach that guarantees the properties provided by the current methods and give experimental evidence that it significantly outperforms currently used methods. This method is based on a divide and conquer approach, where the min cut in the divide step is replaced by a max cut in a variant of the same graph. The latter is achieved by a lightweight semidefinite programming-like heuristic that leads to very fast running times

Published in:

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 4 )