On the Cut Dimension of a Graph

Authors Troy Lee, Tongyang Li, Miklos Santha, Shengyu Zhang

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Author Details

Troy Lee
  • Centre for Quantum Software and Information, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Tongyang Li
  • Center for Theoretical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • Center on Frontiers of Computing Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China
Miklos Santha
  • CNRS, IRIF, Université de Paris, France
  • Centre for Quantum Technologies and MajuLab, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Shengyu Zhang
  • Tencent Quantum Laboratory, Shenzhen, China

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Troy Lee, Tongyang Li, Miklos Santha, and Shengyu Zhang. On the Cut Dimension of a Graph. In 36th Computational Complexity Conference (CCC 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 200, pp. 15:1-15:35, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


Let G = (V,w) be a weighted undirected graph with m edges. The cut dimension of G is the dimension of the span of the characteristic vectors of the minimum cuts of G, viewed as vectors in {0,1}^m. For every n ≥ 2 we show that the cut dimension of an n-vertex graph is at most 2n-3, and construct graphs realizing this bound. The cut dimension was recently defined by Graur et al. [Andrei Graur et al., 2020], who show that the maximum cut dimension of an n-vertex graph is a lower bound on the number of cut queries needed by a deterministic algorithm to solve the minimum cut problem on n-vertex graphs. For every n ≥ 2, Graur et al. exhibit a graph on n vertices with cut dimension at least 3n/2 -2, giving the first lower bound larger than n on the deterministic cut query complexity of computing mincut. We observe that the cut dimension is even a lower bound on the number of linear queries needed by a deterministic algorithm to solve mincut, where a linear query can ask any vector x ∈ ℝ^{binom(n,2)} and receives the answer w^T x. Our results thus show a lower bound of 2n-3 on the number of linear queries needed by a deterministic algorithm to solve minimum cut on n-vertex graphs, and imply that one cannot show a lower bound larger than this via the cut dimension. We further introduce a generalization of the cut dimension which we call the 𝓁₁-approximate cut dimension. The 𝓁₁-approximate cut dimension is also a lower bound on the number of linear queries needed by a deterministic algorithm to compute minimum cut. It is always at least as large as the cut dimension, and we construct an infinite family of graphs on n = 3k+1 vertices with 𝓁₁-approximate cut dimension 2n-2, showing that it can be strictly larger than the cut dimension.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Graph theory
  • Theory of computation → Graph algorithms analysis
  • Theory of computation → Computational complexity and cryptography
  • Query complexity
  • submodular function minimization
  • cut dimension


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