International Journal of Game Theory

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 543–555 | Cite as

A note on the eternal dominating set problem

  • Stephen Finbow
  • Serge Gaspers
  • Margaret-Ellen MessingerEmail author
  • Paul Ottaway
Original Paper


We consider the “all guards move” model for the eternal dominating set problem. A set of guards form a dominating set on a graph and at the beginning of each round, a vertex not in the dominating set is attacked. To defend against the attack, the guards move (each guard either passes or moves to a neighboring vertex) to form a dominating set that includes the attacked vertex. The minimum number of guards required to defend against any sequence of attacks is the “eternal domination number” of the graph. In 2005, it was conjectured [Goddard et al. (J. Combin. Math. Combin. Comput. 52:169–180, 2005)] there would be no advantage to allow multiple guards to occupy the same vertex during a round. We show this is, in fact, false. We also describe algorithms to determine the eternal domination number for both models for eternal domination and examine the related combinatorial game, which makes use of the reduced canonical form of games.


Graph protection Graph domination Eternal domination Combinatorial game theory 

Mathematics Subject Classification

05C69 05C57 68R15 91A46 



S. Finbow acknowledges research support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant Application 2014-06571). Serge Gaspers is the recipient of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (Project Number FT140100048) and he also acknowledges support under the ARC’s Discovery Projects Funding Scheme (DP150101134). M.E. Messinger acknowledges research support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant Application 356119-2011). The authors acknowledge support from the Games and Graphs Collaborative Research Group of the Atlantic Association for Research in Mathematical Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Finbow
    • 1
  • Serge Gaspers
    • 2
  • Margaret-Ellen Messinger
    • 3
    Email author
  • Paul Ottaway
    • 4
  1. 1.St. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada
  2. 2.UNSW Sydney and Data61, CSIROEveleighAustralia
  3. 3.Mount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada
  4. 4.Capilano UniversityNorth VancouverCanada

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