The NP-hard Independent Set problem is to determine for a given graph G and an integer k whether G contains a set of k pairwise non-adjacent vertices. The problem has numerous applications in scheduling, including resource allocation and steel manufacturing. There, one encounters restricted graph classes such as 2-union graphs, which are edge-wise unions of two interval graphs on the same vertex set, or strip graphs, where additionally one of the two interval graphs is a disjoint union of cliques. We prove NP-hardness of Independent Set on a very restricted subclass of 2-union graphs and identify natural parameterizations to chart the possibilities and limitations of effective polynomial-time preprocessing (kernelization) and fixed-parameter algorithms. Our algorithms benefit from novel formulations of the computational problems in terms of (list-)colored interval graphs.
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