Background: The COMPARABILITY EDITING problem appears in the context of hierarchical disease classification based on noisy data. We are given a directed graph G representing hierarchical relationships between patient subgroups. The task is to identify the minimum number of edge insertions or deletions to transform G into a transitive graph, that is, if edges (u, v) and (v, w) are present then edge (u, w) must be present, too.
Results: We present two new approaches for the problem based on fixed-parameter algorithmics and integer linear programming. In contrast to previously used heuristics, our approaches compute provably optimal solutions.
Conclusion: Our computational results demonstrate that our exact algorithms are by far more efficient in practice than a previously used heuristic approach. In addition to the superior running time performance, our algorithms are capable of enumerating all optimal solutions, and naturally solve the weighted version of the problem.