Graph and hypergraph colorings constitute an important subject in combinatorics and algorithm theory. In this work, we study conflict-free coloring for hypergraphs. Conflict-free coloring is one possible generalization of traditional graph coloring. Conflict-free coloring hypergraphs induced by geometric shapes, like intervals on the line, or disks on the plane, has applications in frequency assignment in cellular networks. Colors model frequencies and since the frequency spectrum is limited and expensive, the goal of an algorithm is to minimize the number of assigned frequencies, that is, reuse frequencies as much as possible.
We concentrate on an online variation of the problem, especially in the case where the hypergraph is induced by intervals. For deterministic algorithms, we introduce a hierarchy of models ranging from static to online and we compute lower and upper bounds on the numbers of colors used.
In the randomized oblivious adversary model, we introduce a framework for conflict-free coloring a specific class of hypergraphs with a logarithmic number of colors. This specific class includes many hypergraphs arising in geometry and gives online randomized algorithm that use fewer colors and fewer random bits than other algorithms in the literature. Based on the same framework, we initiate the study of online deterministic algorithms that recolor few points.
For the problem of conlict-free coloring points with respect to a given set of intervals, we describe an efficient algorithm that computes a coloring with at most twice the number of colors of an optimal coloring. We also show that there is a family of inputs that force our algorithm to use two times the number of colors of an optimal solution.
Then, we study conflict-free coloring problems in graphs. We compare conflict-free coloring with respect to paths of graphs to a closely related problem, called vertex ranking, or ordered coloring. For conflict-free coloring with respect to neighborhoods of vertices of graphs, we prove that number of colors in the order of the square root of the number of vertices is sufficient and sometimes necessary.
Finally, we initiate the study of Ramsey-type problems for conflict-free colorings and compute a van der Waerden-like number.