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We present a general framework of designing efficient dynamic approximate algorithms for optimization on undirected graphs. In particular, we develop a technique that, given any problem that admits a certain notion of vertex sparsifiers, gives data structures that maintain approximate solutions in sub-linear update and query time. We illustrate the applicability of our paradigm to the following problems.
(1) A fully-dynamic algorithm that approximates all-pair
maximum-flows/minimum-cuts up to a nearly logarithmic factor in $\tilde{O}(n^{2/3})$ amortized time against an oblivious adversary, and $\tilde{O}(m^{3/4})$ time against an adaptive adversary.
(2) An incremental data structure that maintains $O(1)$-approximate shortest path in $n^{o(1)}$ time per operation, as well as fully dynamic approximate all-pair shortest path and transshipment in $\tilde{O}(n^{2/3+o(1)})$ amortized time per operation.
(3) A fully-dynamic algorithm that approximates all-pair effective resistance up to an $(1+\eps)$ factor in $\tilde{O}(n^{2/3+o(1)} \epsilon^{-O(1)})$ amortized update time per operation.
The key tool behind result (1) is the dynamic maintenance of an algorithmic construction due to Madry [FOCS' 10], which partitions a graph into a collection of simpler graph structures (known as j-trees) and approximately captures the cut-flow and metric structure of the graph. The $O(1)$-approximation guarantee of (2) is by adapting the distance oracles by [Thorup-Zwick JACM `05]. Result (3) is obtained by invoking the random-walk based spectral vertex sparsifier by [Durfee et al. STOC `19] in a hierarchical manner, while carefully keeping track of the recourse among levels in the hierarchy.

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