Maximum Matching Sans Maximal Matching: A New Approach for Finding Maximum Matchings in the Data Stream Model

Moran Feldman, Ariel Szarf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of finding a maximum size matching in a graph (known as the maximum matching problem) is one of the most classical problems in computer science. Despite a significant body of work dedicated to the study of this problem in the data stream model, the state-of-the-art single-pass semi-streaming algorithm for it is still a simple greedy algorithm that computes a maximal matching, and this way obtains 1 / 2 -approximation. Some previous works described two/three-pass algorithms that improve over this approximation ratio by using their second and third passes to improve the above mentioned maximal matching. One contribution of this paper continues this line of work by presenting new three-pass semi-streaming algorithms that work along these lines and obtain improved approximation ratios of 0.6111 and 0.5694 for triangle-free and general graphs, respectively. Unfortunately, a recent work Konrad and Naidu (Approximation, randomization, and combinatorial optimization. Algorithms and techniques, APPROX/RANDOM 2021, August 16–18, 2021. LIPIcs, vol 207, pp 19:1–19:18, 2021. shows that the strategy of constructing a maximal matching in the first pass and then improving it in further passes has limitations. Additionally, this technique is unlikely to get us closer to single-pass semi-streaming algorithms obtaining a better than 1 / 2 -approximation. Therefore, it is interesting to come up with algorithms that do something else with their first pass (we term such algorithms non-maximal-matching-first algorithms). No such algorithms were previously known, and the main contribution of this paper is describing such algorithms that obtain approximation ratios of 0.5384 and 0.5555 in two and three passes, respectively, for general graphs. The main significance of our results is not in the numerical improvements, but in demonstrating the potential of non-maximal-matching-first algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Adversarial order streams
  • Maximum matching
  • Multi-pass algorithms
  • Semi-streaming algorithms


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