Complexity Aspects of the Helly Property: Graphs and Hypergraphs

  • Mitre C. Dourado
  • Fábio Protti
  • Jayme L. Szwarcfiter


In 1923, Eduard Helly published his celebrated theorem, which originated the well known Helly property. A family of subsets has the Helly property when every sub-family thereof, formed by pairwise intersecting subsets, contains a common element. Many generalizations of this property exist which are relevant to some fields of mathematics, and have several applications in computer science. In this work, we survey complexity aspects of the Helly property. The main focus is on characterizations of several classes of graphs and hypergraphs related to the Helly property. We describe algorithms for solving different problems arising from the basic Helly property. We also discuss the complexity of these problems, some of them leading to NP-hardness results.

First Published
This Version
DS17: Jun 2, 2009