On the Balance of Unrooted Trees

On the Balance of Unrooted Trees
Mareike Fischer, Volkmar Liebscher

We solve a class of optimization problems for (phylogenetic) X-trees or their shapes. These problems have recently appeared in different contexts, e.g. in the context of the impact of tree shapes on the size of TBR neighborhoods, but so far these problems have not been characterized and solved in a systematic way. In this work we generalize the concept and also present several applications. Moreover, our results give rise to a nice notion of balance for trees. Unsurprisingly, so-called caterpillars are the most unbalanced tree shapes, but it turns out that balanced tree shapes cannot be described so easily as they need not even be unique.

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