I'm looking into the Undirected Vertex Disjoint Paths problem:

Given a list of tuples of vertices (s_i, t_i)

Find simple, pairwise disjoint paths P_{s_0,t_0}, P_{s_1,t_1}, ... that connects the given vertices. If they exist.

I'm in particular interesting in implementing a solution to this this for grid meshes. A situation that comes up in many pen+paper puzzles. I know this will be NP hard in the list of tuples, but hopefully not in the size of the graph.

I know about the Robertson-Seymour theorem, and its complications. However I'm wondering if the required minors might be well known for say planar graphs or meshes?

I also found mentions that Schrijver has made a more approachable polynomial algorithm, but I haven't been able to find mentions of complexity in terms of implementation.

Can anyone point me in a good direction? I'd be interested even in solutions for just two pairs.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ See arxiv.org/abs/1310.2378 and arxiv.org/abs/1304.4207 for two recent "theory" papers on planar disjoint paths. They will have pointers to previous ones. I don't know any references to implementations and would be happy to see some pointers. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ Did you ended up finding any good solutions? $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2023 at 5:38

1 Answer 1


If you want an implementation, Sage has one. With a LP, as usual ;-)



  • $\begingroup$ But it uses Mixed Interger Linear Programming, which is NP-hard... Is it any good? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Many times the LP-based methods give good solutions in a reasonable amount of time if the instances are "easy". You should try them out. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:30

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