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The Mondshein Sequence


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      Canonical orderings [STOC'88, FOCS'92] have been used as a key tool in graph drawing, graph encoding and visibility representations for the last decades. We study a far-reaching generalization of canonical orderings to non-planar graphs that was published by Lee Mondshein in a PhD-thesis at M.I.T. as early as 1971. Mondshein proposed to order the vertices of a graph in a sequence such that, for any i, the vertices from 1 to i induce essentially a 2-connected graph while the remaining vertices from i+1 to n induce a connected graph. Mondshein's sequence generalizes canonical orderings and became later and independently known under the name non-separating ear decomposition. Surprisingly, this fundamental link between canonical orderings and non-separating ear decomposition has not been established before. Currently, the fastest known algorithm for computing a Mondshein sequence achieves a running time of O(nm); the main open problem in Mondshein's and follow-up work is to improve this running time to subquadratic time. After putting Mondshein's work into context, we present an algorithm that computes a Mondshein sequence in optimal time and space O(m). This improves the previous best running time by a factor of n. We illustrate the impact of this result by deducing linear-time algorithms for five other problems, for four out of which the previous best running times have been quadratic.

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