I'm in the midst of some doctoral research and trying to figure out a particularly tricky reduction. I think my best shot is to reduce from an NP-complete problem on posets, if one exists.

I did some digging but did not find anything NP-complete; I found a couple of items that are FPT with respect to the diameter of the poset, but I don't think that's terribly helpful in my search.

I know I may not find anything here, but I figure it doesn't hurt to ask. Does anyone know of any NP-complete problems on posets?

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    $\begingroup$ Typing "NP-complete poset" on google seems to give many examples of such problems. $\endgroup$
    – Denis
    Feb 27, 2023 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ There is the partial ordering problem: Given a finite set $A$ and $c \colon A^2 \to \mathbb{Z}$, find the characteristic vector $x \colon A^2 \to \{0,1\}$ of a partial order $x^{-1}(1)$ that minimizes $c^T x$. $\endgroup$
    – Max Flow
    Feb 28, 2023 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ Being "FPT with respect to the diameter of the poset" does not contradict the problem being NP-hard. Indeed, most parameterized algorithms are developed to tackle NP-hard problems. The most likely scenario in case you mentioned is that the problem is NP-hard in general but tractable in posets with bounded width. $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2023 at 4:47

1 Answer 1


Let $P$ be a poset and $L$ a linear extension of $P$. We say $(x,y)$ is a jump in $L$ if $x$ and $y$ are uncomparable in $P$ and there is no $z$ such that $x \leq_L z \leq_L y$. Given a poset $P$ and an integer $k$, it is NP-hard to decide whether there is a linear extension with at most $k$ jumps. This is know as the Jump Number Problem. See, for example, this paper by Bouchitte and Habib:

Bouchitte, Vincent; Habib, Michel, NP-completeness properties about linear extensions, Order 4, No. 1-3, 143-154 (1987). ZBL0627.06005.

There are other problems which ask for extensions with some properties. For instance, given posets $P$ and $Q$, one may be interested in finding a linear extension of $P$ that disagrees with $Q$ as much as possible. This problem has some interesting applications and it has been shown to be NP-hard:

da Silva, Rodrigo Ferreira; Urrutia, Sebastián; dos Santos, Vinícius Fernandes, One-sided weak dominance drawing, Theor. Comput. Sci. 757, 36-43 (2019). ZBL1422.68186.


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