In graph theory, the clique-width of a graph G is the minimum number of labels needed to construct G by means of the following 4 operations :

  1. Creation of a new vertex v with label i (noted i(v) )
  2. Disjoint union of two labeled graphs G and H (denoted G oplus H )
  3. Joining by an edge every vertex lebeled i to every vertex labeled j (denoted n(i,j))
  4. Renaming label i to label j (denoted p(i,j) )

Cographs are exactly the graphs with clique-width at most 2; every distance-hereditary graph has clique-width at most 3 . Many optimization problems that are NP-hard for more general classes of graphs may be solved efficiently by dynamic programming on graphs of bounded clique-width (). The theory of graphs of bounded clique-width resembles that for graphs of bounded treewidth, but unlike treewidth allows for dense graphs.


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